Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc returns in Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out’ sequel ‘Glass Onion’

Ryan Ranc, Senior Life&Arts Film Columnist

After the successful release of Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” in 2019, Netflix obtained the rights to two more sequels from the mystery movie behemoth. Audiences worldwide wondered how on earth more movies could be made having wrapped up such a solid mystery. In comes “Glass Onion,” which follows returning character Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he and a collective of one-noted rich egotists play a classic game of murder mystery on the titular island called the Glass Onion.

The return of Craig solidifies his embodiment of Benoit Blanc’s character. A “Knives Out” mystery wouldn’t be complete without Blanc. Arguably, Blanc has the potential to be Craig’s most notable and memorable character, even above James Bond. Along with his physical return, Blanc’s witty sensibility and country-sounding accent feel right at home amidst the callous cast of characters. Blanc has plenty of comedic bits sprinkled throughout the runtime, from his supposed retirement in a bathtub to being enthralled with the rich lifestyle of island owner Miles Bron (Edward Norton).

The original movie stood out due to its strong cast including Ana de Armas, Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis. “Glass Onion” continues this star-studded cast trend by bringing in Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr. and more to play rich millionaire friends who only find success through sucking up to Norton’s character. Each actor adds their own charm to characters that would typically be considered cliché or shallow. Monáe plays up her role in the movie’s story, making her just as much of a standout as Craig. Each character — with the exception of Craig and Monáe — becomes easy for audiences to hate while still being enjoyable to watch.

Johnson amps the humor up in this sequel. Johnson’s humor tends to consist of snarky remarks, cynicism and irony, which the movie amplifies and showcases through its plot and characters. Each character has their own moments to shine, whether it be through sheer idiotic behavior or intelligent sarcastic remarks that leave audiences with just the right amount of comedic flavor on their palette. Mix in the occasional cameo, and you’ve got comedy genius.

“Glass Onion” has all the ingredients to make any murder seem like a five-course meal, but it almost feels too big for its own good. While the appeal of “Knives Out” comes from its condensed setting and simplistic motive, “Glass Onion” feels overly convoluted and bloated despite being well thought out. This ultimately doesn’t affect the quality of the sequel, but it holds it back just slightly from edging out a victory over its predecessor.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” stands as a worthy follow-up to the hit success of Johnson’s “Knives Out.” Its expert cast and well-crafted, narrative humor mix with its compelling story to create the perfect movie for this holiday season. Will Blanc solve the mystery, or will Netflix lose money in him trying?

4 onion layers out of 5