REVIEW: ‘Glass Onion’ offers plenty of fun, but light on heart

As “Shrek” taught us, onions have layers, and there are definitely layers in the mystery featured during “Glass Onion.”

Similar to its predecessor, “Knives Out,” detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is once again surrounded by wealthy people gathered in one location. This time around, that location is the island of the Glass Onion, which is owned by billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton).

Miles invites many of his rich friends, as well as Blanc, to a weekend at the island for a murder mystery game. Things take a twist, though, when someone actually does die during the getaway, and suspicions mount.

Like its predecessor, “Glass Onion” is plenty of fun. Director and writer Rian Johnson once again takes advantage of a talented cast by letting them go at it with entertaining banter in a stylish setting. These interactions take place all while some intriguing twists and turns are taking place.

The film, released on Netflix, is never an uninteresting experience. Johnson did solid work in setting everything up in the first act, adding some mystery in the second, and then turning the whole thing on its head with a twist at about the halfway point. It’s an interesting mystery that’s not told in the most straightforward way, similar to “Knives Out.”

However, the two movies are also different in a key aspect which works against “Onion.” The previous installment from 2019 certainly benefitted from Johnson’s witty writing, the eccentric character Blanc, and plenty of other quirky individuals in the cast.

GlassOnionBlog
Courtesy Netflix.

The movie would not have worked nearly as well, though, had it not been for the character Marta Cabrera, played by Ana de Armas. Marta was a down-to-earth character who grounded “Knives Out,” winning audiences over with her good nature and charm.

It’s understandable that Marta wouldn’t be in this film, as Johnson is trying to keep these films individual, so much so that he fought against having “Knives Out” in the title. However, Marta not being in this movie, while reasonable, does leave a hole that doesn’t get filled.

Johnson, it seems, tried to fill that gap with a new character, but because of both the story structure and the character’s involvement in the narrative, it simply doesn’t work as well. As a result, “Glass Onion,” as hokey as it sounds, is lacking in heart. There’s a not much passion coming from the picture.

It’s not so much of a detriment that the film becomes disappointing. The setting is extravagant in the picture making for a cool atmosphere and the cast really has fun in this, notably Kathryn Hahn and Janelle Monae. Plus, it’s great spending more time with Blanc.

“Glass Onion” is in fact a fun flick to sit back and watch for a few hours. It has some nice twists and turns, as a good mystery should, and an enjoyable array of characters. Still, the film falls short of hooking an audience in as well the first movie did, as an emotional core is missing. 3 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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