Rian Johnson wants you to know something: “Glass Onion” is not a sequel to “Knives Out,” the 2019 box office success that won over audiences and critics alike. Johnson, the film’s writer and director, intended this to be a self-contained story, not another chapter in the whodunit series. You’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting a follow-up movie. The film’s protagonist is the only thing the two stories have in common.
This time, Detective Benoit Blanc trades his stylish suits and spectacles for resort wear and sunscreen after receiving a puzzling invite to an exclusive murder-mystery party in the Greek islands. Blanc arrives on the island and mingles with the other invitees, learning they all have personal ties to the party’s host, Miles (Edward Norton), an eccentric tech mogul with expensive hobbies and priceless home décor. But sport turns to tragedy when a real crime shatters the party’s festivities. As their backstories unfold, everyone becomes a suspect.
Janell Monae is the film’s superstar with a spectacular performance as Andi, a former business partner of Miles, whose arrival on the island takes everyone by surprise. Andi and Blanc partner together, peeling away the layers of façade surrounding those who have the motive to lie and perhaps even kill.
Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Detective Blanc lacks the cadence and grace of his performance in “Knives Out.” With his best Foghorn Leghorn impression, he delivers some of the film’s funniest lines and moments.
Johnson struggles to find a rhythm between exposition and conflict, rushing through the plot at a dizzying pace. Still, it’s fun trying to keep up with the film’s surprising twists.
Painted with vibrant colors and shimmering images, “Glass Onion” is an amusing whirlwind of cameos and fashion with copious wit to spare. It is now streaming on Netflix.