Matt!’s review published on Letterboxd:
In this installment of the Knives Out franchise, Benoit Blanc sets out to discover who or what is responsible for killing the trajectory of Edward Norton’s career in the mid 2000s. Was it dropping out of the MCU before it got huge? Was it Nolan’s The Prestige steamrolling The Illusionist? Was it just from him being kind of a dick who’s tough to work with? Who knows! The game is afoot!
Rian Johnson’s first Knives Out was a massive success, and deservedly so. The mystery was fun as hell, the cast of characters was simply fantastic, the soul of the story was warm and heartfelt, and Daniel Craig oozed charisma every time he was onscreen. In this sequel, almost all of those aspects are improved upon, with the exception of one, which unfortunately gets downgraded a bit.
In addition to inadvertently dating itself forever with its heavy emphasis on “hey guys this was during the pandemic lockdowns!”, Glass Onion takes about an hour to really gather steam. While doing this, it introduces us to a new cast of characters who are akin to the first film’s ensemble in that they work as a sort of dysfunctional family, but who differ in the sense that, rather than acting as standard big family stereotypes, they are fashioned more as topical caricatures. However, in this way they seem to suffer from the Don’t Look Up effect, wherein they’re meant to be cleverly satirical but end up coming off as more pretentious and heavy-handed, sort of like a lay-up joke from Reddit come to life. Luckily, once the pieces are finally on the board, the movie really begins to take off.
The mystery is excellent, better even than the first. It’s twisty, less telegraphed, and the stakes are much higher, but it’s main strength is in how heavily it relies on misdirection without seeming “unfair” to those trying to solve it at home. I can’t say I’m as ecstatic with the ending itself as I think Johnson intended for me to be, but I also love for my mystery flicks to end with a gasp and a nice little bow on top, so maybe that’s asking too much.
Janelle Monáe is phenomenal, but what I love most about this film is how much breathing room it gives to Craig. The guy is a SPECTACLE to watch onscreen, the fact that he only just recently shed the skin of James Bond and is somehow now the next detective icon is incredible. I will watch any movie with Benoit Blanc, I don’t care if he’s helping the damn Minions in the next one, my money will be firmly in Rian Johnson’s pockets.
The lack of a Chris Evans comparison is evident as well, but after that, I don’t really have any other complaints. I love this kind of shit. Feed me more!