‘Glass Onion’ is the perfect rewatch movie

The new film is a perfect mix of satire and thriller

Ally Werstler, Staff Writer

“Glass Onion,” Rian Johnson’s sequel to the critically acclaimed 2019 whodunnit film, “Knives Out,” takes viewers on another wild ride of twists and turns with the world-renowned — and hilarious — detective Benoit Blanc. I have been a huge fan of Blanc ever since his first appearance in “Knives Out,” a feature I saw numerous times at the theater. What I loved most about Johnson’s former film was its originality — something that is incredibly rare to find in Hollywood nowadays with Marvel movies and other large intellectual properties (IP) dominating the box office. To my surprise and excitement, when the sequel to this hit was announced, Johnson told fans that while Blanc — portrayed by Daniel Craig — would return, there would be a completely new cast coupled with another original mystery.

Fast forward to Dec. 23, 2022, when my mom, dad and I tuned in to the premiere of “Glass Onion” on Netflix. Upon first viewing, I believed the film to be solid with a fairly engaging premise and a wonderful score, but I found it was held back by its mediocre humor. However, after watching it for a second time, I can safely say that “Glass Onion” is a brilliant film with fantastic performances, masterful directing, beautiful cinematography and above all, a great mystery.

“Glass Onion” has a star-studded cast that includes Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Katherine Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, Jessica Henwick and Madelyn Cline. While every actor makes a unique impact on the film, Janelle Monáe is the true star of the show. Upon rewatch, Monáe’s good performance becomes great, as audience members are able to recognize her impressive subtleties and gain a better understanding of her overall character. Of course, Craig is an absolute delight to see on screen again as detective Blanc, as his character captivates audiences through spot-on comedic timing and unique southern charm. Actually, “Glass Onion” improves upon the overall presentation of characters in comparison to “Knives Out” because it allows viewers to better understand the motives of every person through great dialogue and superb directing.

It’s no secret that Johnson is a satisfactory director with films like “Brick” (2009), “Looper” (2012) and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) under his belt, but “Glass Onion” truly shows his mastery of the craft — specifically in the mystery genre. Johnson understands how to captivate the audience through interesting shots that, upon rewatch, clearly show the answers to the mystery at stake, but are invisible during one’s first viewing. Such a phenomenon perfectly pairs with the film’s theme — everything is how it seems.

Johnson’s astute cinematography further feeds into the mystery but also helps characterize our new group of unlikable wealthy imbeciles — a trope that is a continuation from “Knives Out.” After re-watching “Glass Onion,” the unknowns underlying each character become obvious yet all the more fascinating.

Further adding to the film’s excellence is the immersive set design where audience members are transported to a new and gorgeous destination that is known as the Glass Onion. Opposite to the gothic setting of “Knives Out,” this film features a shiny private island filled with tropical plants and innovative technology. Although the Glass Onion may seem like a symbol of technological ingenious, the tackiness of the architecture further displays the underlying mystery that is about to ensue. The physical layers of the Glass Onion mirror that of the storyline’s perceived complexities, thus demonstrating how every aspect of the film is interrelated to create a fantastic mystery.

Although the beginning of the film could have been sped up, the mastery of the mystery genre outweighs the minute negatives. Johnson does something that almost every director fails at — making the sequel better than the original. If you do not love “Glass Onion” upon first viewing, try watching it a second time. I know you won’t regret it.

Film Score: 9.5/10