The Netflix sequel is a must-watch

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The Netflix sequel is a must-watch
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Crazier and funnier than the original, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” changes the game in unexpected and delicious ways.

Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”. netflix

After the runaway success of “Knives Out,” the thriller filmed in Massachusetts in 2019, director Rian Johnson (“Looper”) has signed a lucrative two-sequel deal with Netflix. While Johnson could have got away with delivering a simple, revamped “Knives Out 2” for the streaming giant, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” changes the game in unexpected and delicious ways.

The characters and locations in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” change from the 2019 original, with Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig of James Bond fame) the only remnant. Instead of an old-money New England family, the mystery revolves around Elon Musk-esque tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton, “Fight Club”), who invites a group of his longtime friends onto his private Greek island amid the pandemic.

Yes, “Glass Onion” takes place in early 2020, and COVID references are definitely on the menu. With no mysteries to solve, Blanc has the midlife blues, spending his days soaking in a tub and zooming around with his friends. Everything changes when Blanc is invited to Billionaire’s Island to help solve a staged murder experiment alongside Bron’s closest friends.

The Billionaire’s Friends are a group of sycophants trying to stay in Bron’s good graces. There’s Joe Rogan-esque Twitch streamer Duke Cody (Dave Bautista, “Guardians of the Galaxy”), reluctant inventor Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr., “Hamilton”), bought-and-paid politician Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn, “Wandavision”), and over-the-hill cover model turned fashion entrepreneur turned victim of self-inflicted cancel culture Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson, “Almost Famous”).

There are also a handful of less repulsive characters on the island, including Birdie’s beleaguered assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick, “The Gray Man”) and Andi Brand (Janelle Monae, “Hidden Figures”), a former Bron’s business partner who has been ostracized, “social network” style, and is viewed with suspicion and distance by others.

The Netflix Sequel Is A Must-Watch
Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathryn Hahn in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is more of a crazy movie than “Knives Out,” piling on the absurdity of the opening credits. And just like the 2019 version, the cast is its greatest strength. As Birdie, Hudson gets the most consistent laughs throughout the film, from the insistence that everyone at her boisterous 200-person party is “in their pod” to her pathological desire to post career-ending tweets. Norton is also a winner, playing the kind of billionaire who cultivates a worldly image that could nonetheless be deflated by a particularly smart kid, a la “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Finally, I’ve yet to see a movie where Monae is anything but excellent, and much like Ana de Armas in 2019’s “Knives Out,” she nearly steals the movie.

You can tell Johnson is having a lot of fun with his blank check from Netflix, too, and the movie sometimes functions — explicitly or metaphorically — as a commentary on the large-scale economies created by VC-funded capitalism. Speaking of Netflix, the company has unfortunately decided to only release “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” in theaters for one week, starting Wednesday, November 23. It’s an understandable choice, given that streaming is the company’s business. But after looking at many Boston-area showings that are already filling up days before the film’s release, it seems likely that Netflix is ​​leaving some money on the table.

After seeing the film in a sold-out Halloween preview, I highly recommend that you spend some time with your loved ones this Thanksgiving weekend to peel back the layers of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” in rooms.

Evaluation: 3 ½ stars (out of 4).

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is in theaters from November 23-29, before streaming on Netflix from December 23.

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