How Does Netflix's Glass Onion Compare to First Knives Out Mystery?

Netflix this holiday weekend invited you inside the Glass Onion, for a second murder mystery in the Knives Out film franchise. Did this one have a “Halle Berry!”-like kick that the original did not?

Once again written and directed by Rian Johnson, Glass Onion opened with a bit more set-up than Knives Out, chronicling for us as it did how tech bro Miles Bron (played by Edward Norton) invited several friends to a murder mystery weekend at his titular retreat in Greece, by way of elaborate puzzle boxes that needed to be solved (…or smashed) to reveal the actual invitation.

The intended invitees were a group of friends who back in the day — ahead of anyone’s professional successes (including Miles’ founding of Alpha Industries) — would gather at a dive bar called The Glass Onion: Claire Debella (played by Kathryn Hahn), now a governor running for senator; Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), the chief scientist at Alpha; Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), a model/influencer sullied by assorted PR scandals, who brought her assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick); Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), a men’s rights activist looking for his big break on Twitch, who came with girlfriend/wannabe influencer Whiskey (Madelyn Cline); and first and foremost, Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), who months prior had (unsuccessfully) sued to claim her piece of the Alpha pie.

Also RSVPing for the getaway — though not an intended recipient of a puzzle box, leading to great confusion from Miles — was Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), master detective.

Once everyone assembled at the private isle, Miles teed up the murder mystery which his imminent “death” would trigger — though Benoit Blanc was very quick to solve it right then and there, in front of everyone else (and greatly irking the party host!). Soon after, however, someone did actually keel over: Duke, poisoned by a drink that was seemingly meant for Miles. And not long after that, with the guests already on edge/rife with suspicion, Andi was shot dead by an unseen assailant, in the midst of a private tete-a-tete with Benoit Blanc.

But things were not at all what they seemed.

The film’s second act was comprised of an extended flashback which revealed that Andi Brand in fact had been murdered days prior to the trip, at her home. Suspecting foul play, her twin sister Helen sought out and beseeched Benoit Blanc to show up at Miles’ island and suss out the culprit. Helen in turn was tasked with posing as Andi, changing her hair and composure and studying her twin’s handy journal. (Along the way, we briefly met Hugh Grant playing Benoit’s partner.)

Twist No. 2: Helen was not killed by the bullet outside the Glass Onion; instead, the aforementioned journal saved her life — though Benoit was quick to have her play dead (with the help of some splashes of Jeremy Renner-branded hot sauce). Helen then slipped away to rifle through everyone’s rooms until she found the red envelope that had been stolen from her dead sister and confirmed that Alpha was in fact Andi‘s brainchild.

We won’t detail what all happened after that, though I’d argue the conclusion was a bit less elegant that Knives Out‘s own whodunnit wrap-up; it offered a bit less clever mystery-solving, and a lot more pyrotechnics. In the end, however, justice was served, in a very different way.

What did you think of Glass Onion, and how it compared to the original Knives Out mystery/solving?

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