Mitchell Beaupre’s review published on Letterboxd:
Does some things better than the first one. I feel like Rian Johnson gets more confident with every movie he makes. There’s a willingness to really toy with the audience here that only a director with his playfulness could achieve. That’s the most thrilling part about these movies. The moments where it zags when you expect it to zig. His constant maneuvering of himself into a particular narrative expectation before he does the thing that every screenwriting book would tell you not to do in that moment and then sees how he can get himself out of the hole he built.
It’s really fun to watch, and like the first movie the best moment of this one is when he tosses out a reveal shockingly early on that completely sucks the air out of the room in the most exhilarating way. And then it feels like all bets are off.
I also could just watch Daniel Craig doing this shit every week forever. He’s clearly having such a ball, and this movie betters our entertainment value with Blanc because we’ve already got an established relationship with him. There’s a coy charm in watching him play the tired fool for part of this and then turn on the charm. And like Ana de Armas in the first, he’s brilliantly paired with Janelle Monáe here who threatens to take the movie from him.
The surrounding cast is fun but no one really leaves much of an impression apart from a few choice bits, like Ed Norton in the flashback dressed exactly like Tom Cruise in Magnolia, which is more a credit to the costume designer and Johnson than it is Norton. Like the first movie, I felt disappointed with how surface-level a lot of the side characters feel and wish there had been something more memorable about them.
The commentary here also feels rather dim, just a generic “rich people are dumb narcissists” thing that feels played out from both the first movie and from the plethora of “eat the rich” satires that we’ve been getting this year — none of which have been particularly good. And with all of that in mind, I feel like the arc for the majority of characters that comes is extremely disingenuous and left me with a sour taste at the end.
This thing is also just way too fucking long. I was at around the 90-minute mark and could not believe I still had basically an hour to go. No way on earth should these things be longer than two hours, and even that feels generous.
Only cameo that really worked and wasn’t distracting was Noah Segan, who isn’t really a “cameo” the way the others are.