After thoroughly enjoying my experience watching Knives Out (2019) last year, I only had to wait a month or two before the highly anticipated sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) was released on Netflix. Directed and written once again by Rian Johnson, Glass Onion is another mystery film starring Daniel Craig as the famous detective Benoit Blanc. The film also stars a whole new cast including A-listers like Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, and Madelyn Cline. Before December even came around, I had already heard a lot of positive buzz surrounding the film – even hearing some claims that this sequel was better than the original. But in my humble opinion now that I’ve seen both, while Glass Onion is witty and crafty whodunit mystery, it falls a little short compared to the original.

[There will be spoilers in this review; read at your own discretion]

Miles Bron (played by Edward Norton) reuniting with his friends for their mystery murder getaway at the Glass Onion Island

What impressed me the most about Glass Onion was how Rian Johnson managed to create an entirely fresh and unique murder mystery while still capturing all the elements that worked so well in the first film. The humour and charm felt familiar, but there was definitely a new kind of energy that made the movie feel distinct. Is spunky the right word? Let’s go with spunky. Since this sequel was meant to serve as a standalone film to begin with, it definitely needed to feel different. In my eyes, one way Johnson achieved this was by setting comedy to be at the forefront – Glass Onion certainly had more comedy to it, and that made the film feel much more vibrant and lively (despite a murder taking place anyway). Not to mention with the setting taking place in an all too familiar COVID-19 world, the story just felt so modern and relatable.

In a similar to fashion to Knives Out, this film more or less centered around a group of unlikable and snobby characters who also happen to be our potential culprits. I always find it interesting to see how despite most of the characters being absolutely detestable human beings, they don’t deter me from watching the film. While a bad character can easily make or break a film, the obnoxious nature of Glass Onion‘s characters actually adds a lot of value to the plot – any one of them could be the murderer and our lack of affection towards them allows us to shamelessly point the finger in any direction. Besides, thanks to Johnson’s excellent writing, they’re dislikable, but in a humourously effective way. Each character is given just enough screen time so we can conceive multiple possible motives that are all believable.

Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) solving the murder mystery game at the dinner table

But with Glass Onion being such a character-driven story, the casting had to be just right for the movie to succeed. While they’ve already perfected the role of Benoit Blanc thanks to Craig’s endearing performance, the casting director had to ensure the rest of the cast could deliver too. Thankfully, I thought the final cast was excellent and each actor brought the right amount of sassy energy and personality to their character; none of these characters are meant to be likable and I love how each actor really leans into that. I personally enjoyed watching Governor Debella (played by Hahn) and Birdie Jay (played by Hudson) the most because they were the two that I struggled to decipher the most – I somehow doubted yet believed in their guiltiness at the same time.

And standing amongst this unlikable group of so-called friends are Benoit Blanc and his Watson, Helen Brand. Craig was once again a lovable and charming detective that we could root for (still not a fan of his accent though) while Monáe was a charismatic force to be reckoned with – they were truly a mighty dynamic duo. I thoroughly loved the shocking twist of the twin sister being involved, and I thought Monáe was nothing short of fantastic as she switched between playing both sisters. It was a fun addition to the film that kept me on my toes as we replayed past scenes to understand what was truly going on. Blanc and Brand had a reassuring bond between them that was comforting to watch midst all the madness, but their playful banter was also a fun source of comedic relief during the more intense moments. I definitely had a fun time walking alongside the duo as I tried to unravel the mystery myself.

Close up of Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) on the boat to Glass Onion

In terms of the actual mystery though, I thought Glass Onion started off with a really compelling plot, but ended off in a slightly unsatisfying note. While the whodunit aspect of the film was executed very well and kept me interested for the majority of the plot, I found the ending to be a little messy. While Helen did get some form of closure by more or less destroying Miles’ reputation, I was hoping that more justice would be achieved in honour of her sister, Andi. And sure, I get that shattering all those sculptures was a cathartic release that eventually set the scene for the building to be set on fire, but I personally felt it went on a little too long. In fact, I would argue that that scene started feeling too awkward and flamboyant. I guess I just wish they stuck the landing a bit better because everything up until right after the reveal was so thoughtfully done.

While I can’t say the ending left me completely satisfied, the film was still very entertaining and I had a great time trying to piece together the puzzle. I enjoyed seeing how each character gradually started to look increasingly guilty as the story progressed. To me, that marks a good mystery film – the ability to leave me questioning my every decision. So while the reveal and resolution wasn’t as intense and fulfilling as the one in Knives Out, I was still on the edge of my seat as the mystery was being explained.

Benoit Blanc and Andi Brand about to expose Miles Bron at the end of the film.

With so much pressure on Rian Johnson to create a standalone sequel that was as entertaining and engaging as the first, I think it’s safe to say he did a pretty good job despite all those expectations. While it didn’t quite beat my initial experience with Knives Out, it was still a satisfying sequel that I would highly recommend to any fan of mystery movies. I really liked Johnson’s choice to create Glass Onion as a standalone sequel and I’m excited to see what the next mystery will entail. I’ve decided that my final rating for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will be 8/10. While the ending did cause my rating to lose some points, I can’t deny that the overall story, matched with excellent acting and writing, is one that’s worthy of watching.