‘Glass Onion’ is a bigger, more dramatic sequel to ‘Knives Out’


John Wilson /© Netflix/ Everett Collection

Detective Benoit Blanc returns as the detective in Glass Onion. Only this time, he must solve a murder mystery while on a beautiful, luscious Greek island.

Hannah Liu, Staff Writer

Two years ago, Rian Johnson whipped up the perfect movie for murder-mystery lovers, bringing a classic whodunit tale of “Knives Out” to the big screen. Its witty storytelling, unpredictable twists, and wildly dysfunctional family attracted millions of viewers and received high acclaim, easily becoming one of the most popular films in 2019. 

Recently, its highly-awaited sequel, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” was released on Netflix on Dec. 23rd and was named one of the top ten films of 2022 by the National Board of Review. The movie contains an entirely new mystery which follows characters more wealthy and conniving than in “Knives Out.” Everything is bigger and flashier–but that doesn’t necessarily make it better.

The beginning of the film is a perfect introduction: various characters receive the same mysterious box in which they must solve a series of intricate puzzles in order to reveal the contents inside. We get our first glimpses of the main characters: Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), genius scientist Lionel Toussant (Leslie Odom Jr.), Connecticut governor Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), fashion designer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), online streamer Duke Cody (Dave Bautista) and his girlfriend, Whiskey (Madelyn Cline). And, of course, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), reprises as the detective. The box reveals an invitation to a reunion at a private, lavish Greek island owned by billionaire Miles Bron, who becomes the center of the entire movie.

The film explores the complicated relationships within this group of friends, with each person harboring different lies, secrets, and incentives. We come to learn that Miles is a deceitful, manipulative character–he holds leverage and blackmail over his close friends and uses them at his disposal. All of this unravels when someone gets murdered, and Detective Blanc not only has to find a culprit, but must first solve these complex relationships.

“Glass Onion,” on top of being a mystery with unpredictable twists and turns, becomes a satirical comedy that pokes fun at today’s Big Tech billionaires and social-media influencers. Its sharp social commentary focused on the hypocrisy and secrets among the rich and powerful by mocking its own characters, all while having fun and adding ridiculously hilarious aspects to the film, such as the hourly “bong” noise voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. 

However, while I enjoyed the actual plot and comedic commentary in the film, many characters fell flat and did not live up to the vibrant personalities that were in “Knives Out.” Each of the characters felt like tweaked-copies of one another: all unlikeable, career-chasing, and dependent on Miles. And, to top it off, the ending of the movie and well-being of the characters was solely dependent on a napkin, which I do not believe was meant to be satire.  

For fans of murder mysteries, “Glass Onion” is a worthy watch filled with plot twists, deception, and satirical comedy. The terrain is bigger and more dramatic with a beautiful location and stellar cast–but the characters, while more wealthy and powerful, fall flat and do not live up to their potential. I would still recommend you to watch “Glass Onion,” but with the expectations that it cannot compare to its predecessor, “Knives Out.”