Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is, for the most part, comical in its setup, delivery, and parallels to life. The mystery is not as surprising as writer and director Rian Johnson’s first outing in the series. But neither is there a character like Fran, meeting the person they are blackmailing alone after knowing they are capable of murder. Glass Onion does not knock it out of the park mystery-wise, nor is the dialogue on its predecessor’s level, and the cast also lack cohesion. Still, the overarching themes of wealth, privilege, and just desserts always entertains. Despite some of the cast faltering, Janelle Monáe and Daniel Craig both shine.
Miles Bron (Edward Norton) declares himself and his friends as “disruptors” despite all embodying nothing disruptive to the status quo. With a stereogram mystery box, Bron extends an invite to his friends Birdie (Kate Hudson), her assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.), Claire (Kathryn Hahn), Duke (Dave Bautista), his girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline), and Miles’ ex-business partner Andi (Janelle Monáe). The odd one out is Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), who mysteriously receives an invite to the weekend getaway with planned murder mystery fun. Of course, when an actual murder occurs, the game becomes real.
Some Cast Members In Glass Onion Shines Brighter Than Others
Most of the cast performances are over-the-top. It detracts from the comedy and mystery. The ensemble cast feels flat overall. However, Benoit Blanc’s usual well-timed dramatics still have an impact, and Janelle Monáe stands out. Paired together, they have chemistry and are the film’s driving force, despite those accents. The others ooze obnoxious desperation to maintain proximity to the person holding the purse strings, but you do not feel any investment in their success or downfall. Edward Norton is a great casting choice because you do not like him. But Glass Onion is more slapstick mystery than crafty, comedic mystery.
Within Glass Onion, there are some superb callbacks sprinkled. Given today’s climate, some discussions hit the mark with incredible accuracy. When Birdie declares herself a truth-teller, Blanc’s retort about the dangers of confusing speaking without thought with truth-telling resonates with online arguments. Many tout their mindless rants as truth when they are words with little substance or thought. This is similar to Miles Bron’s constant speeches that sound increasingly outside reality.
White Men Are Not Synonymous With Talent Or Genius
Benoit Blanc struggles to solve the ever-evolving mystery presented to him. The reason is apparent, hinted at the beginning, and flat-out stated by Blanc later. A game that is “dumb” is Blanc’s Achilles heel. He solves mysteries that have a level of intelligence behind them. When that is nonexistent, as in Glass Onion, he flounders. That also compares with how people view others. We view others based on our assumptions of them but also based on our capabilities. If a person is horrible and you are not, you cannot foresee all potential dangers.
Miles Bron is similar to many rich white men and their sycophants on the island. The resemblance between Bron and Elon Musk is uproarious. They buy talent but lack any of their own. Yet both are full of themselves. It brings to mind the oft-used phrase from Sarah Hagi; “give me the confidence of a mediocre white man.” White men get away with far too much because those around them pander to their egos.
A wealthy, mediocre white man claiming they are a disruptor while playing in the system and exploiting others is laughable. Rian took some of the same beats but again flipped the mystery. Given Glass Onion’s dialogue and cast are weaker overall than the first film, a third installment may falter more. Still, Glass Onion is worth a view if only for the uncanny resemblance to famous white men. That is where the comedy lies. . .and a lot of made-up words.