Glass Onion

Glass Onion ★★★½


I enjoyed it, but not as much as the first one. I did appreciate his ambitions in changing both the setting and basic structure of the story, both of which were gambles that I thought paid off. Whodunit buffs will appreciate the way he plays with the genre's tropes. Daniel Craig and Janelle Monae are delightful and it's always nice to see Jessica Henwick, though she's underutilized here. I also found a couple of the criticisms to be very odd -- I thought the cameos were fun and setting the movie during Covid didn't bother me in the slightest.

My main problems: the characters in Knives Out were recognizable as real people, whereas most of those in Glass Onion play like broad parodies of "a type of guy" archetypes. There's nothing wrong with that necessarily, though it isn't my taste. But I do think that moves the film into territory in which the laughs have to derive more from slapstick (I am not a student of comedy so this could be totally wrong) and I don't think it really delivers there. Parts of the film feel like they were written by a ChatGPT variant trained on #Resistance refugees who have fled to Mastodon.

Speaking of which, I really wonder what Rian Johnson was thinking this summer, with the movie in the can, as Elon Musk bought Twitter, immediately installed himself as the permanent Main Character of the Discourse, and began aggressively burning off whatever mystique his exploits and wealth had created. On the one hand, it makes it sort of bracingly topical, like it was written 5 minutes before you watched it. On the other hand, it also turns what would have been moderately novel observations at the time into cringey on-the-nose takes.


This becomes a particularly bad problem toward the end of the third act, when the film turns on Blanc realizing that Bron is actually an idiot.

The resolution of the film, wherein Andi's gambit is to engineer an expensive and discrediting PR disaster for Bron falls flat to me. It's treated like an incredible trump card, but it's really sort of marginal. How many times have we seen the powerful weather these kind of scandals and emerge more or less untouched? I would have preferred something like everyone conspiring to kill or frame him, like the end of Murder on the Orient Express. I did love the gonzo move of incinerating the Mona Lisa, and I bet Rian was cackling when he came up with that.


Anyhow, even though I think this was a bit of a miss compared with Knives Out, I'd gladly watch a Craig/Johnson Benoit Blanc mystery every couple of Christmases indefinitely. I waffled between three and three and a half stars but ultimately this fact pushed the rating higher.

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