I am late to review Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). I saw it the week it was released, but time caught up with me. So now I am going to do my own little synopsis. Time to get my thoughts down on paper. You know what I mean.

PLOT

The plot of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is (to no one’s surprise) good. Guess what, Rian Johnson knows how to write a pretty darn good mystery.

I will say this though…the story itself is not as fool proof as the Knives Out (2019). There are loose threads. Not every character seems essential in Glass Onion. The subtle prodding of the original is amped up in this sequel and sometimes that is to its benefit, but one could argue that it is also a detriment. Sometimes it is nice for the audience to infer who the screenplay is poking fun at rather than having it spooled it in front of them.

Again if we want to nit-pick the plot, I have a lot harder time empathizing with rich people on a remote fantasy island compared to a family trapped in a house in a random autumn month. Perhaps this is why I don’t feel like some of the characters have an impact because upon introduction, I am at a struggle to see why I should care about them.

The mystery itself within Glass Onion is good. There are twists that no one can see coming, and the double layered nature of Benoit Blanc’s insertion into Miles Bron’s (Edward Norton) home is a playful rewind to scenes we have already seen.

Knives Out: A Glass Onion mystery is a damn good story. It is damn entertaining. I am not here to claim it is bad at all. I am just picking knits in something I personally don’t have the talent to write.


CHARACTERS

Benoit Blanc

The only carry over character from the original, Benoit Blanc brings the same charisma we are all hoping for. This time around we find him in the middle of the circle of chaos rather than observing it, but it is fun to see him orchestrate a plan rather than just observing someone elses.

Blanc doesn’t get the big finale speech like in Knives Out, rather he lets some of the secondary characters take the shine. But don’t worry, He still puts people in their place when necessary!


Miles Bron

Edward Norton is…fine? Norton plays the asshole Miles Bron part well and can dazzle with big words and grand gestures, but there is not a magnetism. I am not drawn into him when I see him. I remember Norton more for playing the asshole in The Italian Job (2003) than this.

Going to be honest here. Why no put Ethan Hawke in this role? Why not let a man who dazzles in absurdity be the eccentric millionaire?

Miles Bron is not a swing and a miss. I would compare him to a productive out; maybe a ground ball to the second basemen allowing the runner on second base to advance. Maybe the groundout makes it two outs though, threatening a rally.


Birdie Jay

Okay Kate Hudson! I did not expect you to be my second favorite character of the entire movie!

The one-time Oscar nominee has arguably the funniest moments of the movie. She is a constant flirt and really remarkably stupid. It is a shock to the system amongst these individuals who have to play dumb to appease Miles Bron.

If you did not laugh at the “Jewy” joke or the sweat pants joke, then I don’t know what to tell you.


Duke Cody

Mr. Bautista is having himself a little bit of a moment. The former wrestler has announced he is stepping away from the Marvels universe. Glass Onion is a bit relatable to his Drax character because he likes violence and appearing manly, but Duke is more meta in this project.

Duke Cody is the most on the nose character in terms of poking fun at American culture. He is the YouTube anti traditional meta speaking head. What happens to his character of Duke is a surprise within the story, but the way he acts is the least surprising of all the characters.


Andi/Helen Brand

Janelle Monáe wins Glass Onion. Hands down. She is the best part of this movie. It is not just her performance, but it is also the Brand characters.

Playing the roles of Helen and Andi, Monáe sucks up the screen. She has the character with the most written depth, and Monáe dives deep while also having fun with it.

Is it any coincidence that the best written character in Glass Onion is one with family issues, connecting to the motif of Knives Out, the OG.


Claire Debella

I really wanted more from Kathryn Hahn. It is not her fault, but she, Leslie Odom and Jessica Henwick were the three most wasted talents in the movie.

Kathryn Hahn became famous for her role in Wandavision, earning herself an Emmy nomination for her efforts. Since then she was in a show The Shrink Next Door which I have never heard of, Glass Onion, and various animation. She is then attached to Agatha: Coven Of Chaos at the heigh of superhero fatigue.

She needs a pick me up.


Lionel Toussaint

Leslie Odom is the most wasted actor in the entire movie. His aesthetic, his character and his talents are all off kilter. I was really impressed with Odom in One Night In Miami (2020) where he was nominated for two Oscars, but since then the only major movie he was in was The Many Saints Of Newark (2021), which I did not see cause I did not see The Sopranos.

Most of Leslie Odom’s solo screen time came in the beginning trying to solve the puzzle box. After that he just gossiped with Claire and questioned everything with his logical brain.


Peg

So, uhh, what happened to Peg? Why did she disappear for the final act of the movie?

Jessica Henwick plays that part of Peg, the assistant to Birdie Jay, so probably the person with the most thankless job of the bunch. It really is a bummer that we don’t get more of Peg because every time she tries to do damage control she delivers a fantastic line.

The funniest conversation of the movie may be Peg vs. Birdie Jay regarding sweat shops: “Birdie… please tell me you did not think sweatshops are where they make sweatpants.”


Whiskey

Let’s get this out in the open. Madelyn Cline is attractive.

Whiskey as a character is a credit to Rian Johnson because up until one conversation we have this simplistic opinion of her. Then when she talks with Helen playing Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), we get a new sense of her. She is self aware to what she is. She knows this current job is a stepping stone toward a possibly better career.

Whiskey as a character is meant for eye candy, but biting into it there is an extra flavor worth noting.


Derol

You remember the random person in the house who was just hanging around? His name was Derol, and he was played by Noah Segan. What did Derol do in the story? Well nothing really. He was kind of a waste of space, but that was his purpose. There are individuals who latch onto the wealthy and just coast on their generosity or apathy.

As unnecessary he would seem to the story, Derol doesn’t bother me too much at all because he is meant to be an accompaniment. He serves his role well as the random comic relief.


VISUALS

The Greek setting of Glass Onion was a wonder switcheroo from the autumn fall of Knives Out. The premises of Bron was over-the-top as it was meant to be. If I can be honest though…I was disappointed by the glass onion. Perhaps there is a metaphorical thing that I don’t understand, but we were only in the onion for a brief time, and the outside I did not find that appealing. Perhaps again, that is its purpose; a rich person thinking something big is automatically pretty.

The dining room and open air concept of Glass Onion is a bit of funny double-meaning because nothing is really out in the open when it comes to people in the room. There are walls built around everyone trying to protect themselves, so it is in this giant open chasm of the house that everything is eventually aired out, and when it does all come out…it is fiery.

I guess if I had to pin it down to one thing, it is that there is one visual prop that is permanently stamped on on the DVD franchise pack. And that is the knives circle from Knives Out. Nothing in Glass Onion tops that.

CONCLUSION

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a very fun and very well made who-dun-it. Is it groundbreaking, other-worldly, better than the original? There it falls short. In a way, Glass Onion is perfect for Netflix if it stays this way with a bit more on-the-nose nature. You know what this movie is making fun of while the plot within the movie is going on; that both makes it fun but also less immersive.

In a way, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is like season three of Amazon Prime’s The Boys. It is objectively good, but the neon signs scenes asking “DO YOU SEE WHAT WE ARE REFERENCING” are a bit distracting.

STANKO RATING: B+ (3.5/5 Stars)


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