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Sunday, March 19, 2023

‘Glass Onion’ sharpens the ‘Knives Out’ system in a refined Netflix sequel


Rising to the problem of matching its profitable predecessor, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” maintains the razor-sharp system, with a setup that feels much more conspicuously like an Agatha Christie homage earlier than a particularly intelligent sequence of twists kick in. Writer-director Rian Johnson once more assembles a strong forged behind Daniel Craig, but it surely’s his use of language – the place nary a phrase is wasted – that lastly offers the sequel its edge.

Netflix opportunistically stepped as much as purchase the “Knives Out” franchise and, departing from its common “Stroke the filmmakers’ egos” method to theatrical distribution, will truly give the film a large one-week-only launch earlier than it hits the streaming service in late December. Most folks will in all probability nonetheless wait to devour it within the consolation of their houses, however for many who do make the leap, it actually performs effectively with an appreciative viewers.

After the household dynamics in “Knives Out,” which gave everybody a motive to kill off the patriarch, Johnson tries his hand in a unique setting, with an eccentric billionaire, Miles Bron (Edward Norton), inviting his outdated posse of friends to a murder-mystery getaway (throughout Covid, no much less) on his secluded Greek isle, the place they’ll be tasked with fixing his “murder.”

The sport, nonetheless, takes an surprising flip, beginning with the invitation to Craig’s grasp detective Benoit Blanc, who stays sensible and odd in near-equal measure.

As for the eclectic roster of friends/potential killers (and/or victims), they embody a designer/social-media free cannon (Kate Hudson) and her companion (Jessica Henwick), a health influencer (Dave Bautista) and his girlfriend/sidekick (Madelyn Cline), a scientist (Leslie Odom Jr.), a politician (Kathryn Hahn), and most intriguingly, Miles’ estranged former enterprise companion (Janelle Monáe).

Although the most recent film clearly lacks the sense of discovery that greeted the unique – and even turned Chris Evans’ sweater into vital merchandise (Chris Evans not included), Johnson is sensible sufficient to acknowledge that whereas that is about reloading, not reinventing, the change in venues can nonetheless refresh the system.

Craig, furthermore, is clearly having a ball with this new signature position, buying and selling in his tuxedos and physicality for a extra cerebral type of crimefighting, with a Hercule Poirot-like present for eavesdropping and a Foghorn Leghorn Southern twang.

In a type of “Kneel before Zod!” flexes, Netflix reportedly paid a fortune to amass these sequels, which is frankly simply the sort of deal that threatens to take a enjoyable little film and screw it up by creating unreasonable expectations.

Happily, “Glass Onion” finds new layers to discover, in a method that makes the prospect of a brand new “Knives Out Mystery” each few years sound like a superbly cheap concept, wherever and nonetheless one chooses to devour it.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” premieres November 23 in US theaters and December 23 on Netflix. It’s rated PG-13.

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