No layers to peel back in ‘Glass Onion’

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Netflix’s “Glass Onion”, a “Knives Out” Mystery stars Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, a world-famous detective who is invited to solve another murder case. Photo courtesy of Netflix media releases.

Meagan Elizabeth García, Arts & Culture Editor

Editor’s note: this review contains no spoilers.

In the second installation of Director Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” series, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” offers a dramatic change in tone from the first film. Though this movie is not a direct sequel to its predecessor, the one commonality they share is the inclusion of “World’s Greatest Detective,” Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig).  

The series follows Blanc using his skills as a renowned private investigator to unravel the truth behind the cases he has been hired to cover. “Knives Out” follows the untimely death of crime author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), where his entire dysfunctional family becomes suspect to his passing.  

The overall color scheme, setting, costume design, character design and general plot compare drastically to that of “Glass Onion.”  

“Knives Out” is visually warmer. It takes place in a mansion up north during a cold season, and features characters dressed rather expensively to fit their socioeconomic status. The nature of Thrombey’s murder and the way the investigation unfolds is more conventional to the murder-mystery genre. As a whole, the first film takes itself far more seriously. 

While there is still an element of comedy in the form of Blanc’s extravagant personality and Scarlett O’Hara accent, the humor of the surrounding cast is more dry and deadpan. The film explores the workings of a wealthy man’s family and their poorly concealed secrets. 

In the indirect sequel, “Glass Onion” works as a literal and figurative title. The movie is visually brighter and takes place on a private island in Greece owned by the main antagonist, Miles Bron (Edward Norton). Taking center stage of his massive property is a glass structure that is not only shaped like a legitimate onion, but also functions as his headquarters. 

Bron is an extremely wealthy pseudo-genius who leads Alpha Industries after dethroning Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe) from her title as CEO in a legal battle involving their closest colleagues. He has invited men’s rights activist Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), Cody’s girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline), model and popstar Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), Jay’s assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), Governor Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn) and Alpha Industries head scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.). 

Each attendant for Bron’s murder-mystery weekend presents a unique problem in their social standings. As a whole, the group consists of influencers and public figures that promote or are funded by problematic ideals and companies, Bron’s to be exact.  

However the real shock comes in the form of unexpected guests, Blanc and Brand. The whole trip was supposed to act as a way for the group to connect and speak business while they tried to uncover a murder-mystery prepared by someone Bron hired.  

As the film unravels, the audience learns that Blanc had never been invited and Andi Brand is harnessing a secret that could blow all the attendants out of the water. The plot follows the betrayals that occurred within the Alpha Industries friend group and the history they carry.  

 To not spoil too much of the original story, the explanations behind all the character’s actions come to a highly satisfying conclusion. For viewers who enjoy a good revenge plot, this movie is highlighted with a full  circle ending.  

One of the many charms of “Glass Onion” is not only the more outward comedic elements from the script, but the simplicity of the plot. Each character reflects the extreme public personalities and influencers that exist within the real world as well, which creates plenty of room for more audience connection. 

There were many critics who looked for a deeper understanding or theme within the film related to capitalism and cancel culture, but this sequel is entirely true to its namesake.  

The term “glass onion” alludes to peeling back the layers of something only to find that it was ultimately transparent the entire time. There is no deeper meaning to seek.  

Altogether I would rate this movie an eight out of 10. While Blanc’s accent was a bit dramatic, it is still a great film to watch with family and friends. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is now available to stream on Netflix. “Knives Out” is available for streaming on Amazon Prime. 

Meagan Garcia is the arts & culture editor and may be reached at [email protected]