The blossoming Knives Out franchise caters to an oddly specific niche: darkly comic murder mysteries with star-studded ensemble casts. After the first movie proved hugely successful using that unique formula, a sequel was practically a certainty, with Daniel Craig’s charming depiction of gentleman detective Benoit Blanc massively praised for the sense of fun it instils in the movie around him. However, with none of Knives Out‘s other enjoyable characters returning, it was unclear whether the sequel could strike the same winning chord.

Glass Onion follows Benoit Blanc as he heads to billionaire Miles Bron’s private Mediterranean island to solve a murder. Bron’s closest friends and his former business partner are all in attendance, forcing Blanc to closely examine their friendships, their pasts, and their potential motives for murder. Much like Knives Out, it’s tale full of twists and turns brought to life by a veritable who’s-who of Hollywood.

Alongside Daniel Craig, Glass Onion stars Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, and Jessica Henwick. Celebrity cameos include Hugh Grant, Ethan Hawke, Angela Lansbury, Serena Williams, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Natasha Lyonne. Even with its 139-minute runtime, Glass Onion is positively packed full of celebrities, and though this can sometimes prove counterproductive, it actually works massively in the sequel’s favor.

Glass Onion Brilliantly Skewers The Ignorance Of The Super-Rich

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Edward Norton’s Miles Bron translates as an essential amalgamation of figures such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson. A supposedly “brilliant” billionaire convinced that he’s revolutionizing society through various vanity projects, Bron toes the line between humanitarian and supervillain throughout, with Norton’s arrogant ignorance shining through at every turn. Janelle Monáe’s dual role is more than just one of Glass Onion‘s big twists: it also serves as a testament to her acting talent. Monáe essentially acts as the film’s emotional core, bringing genuine feeling to her performance even as everything else begins to comically unwind around her.

At Glass Onion‘s heart stands Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc. Blanc’s composed nature and Holmesian brilliance make for one of cinema’s newest compelling leads, brought to life with a whimsically cool performance from Craig. Glass Onion‘s script allows for some moments of excellent comedy from Craig as Blanc, but this also extends to almost every one of his co-stars. It’s able to elicit laughter in the most unexpected of places, speaking to Johnson’s talent as a writer-director.

Much like with Knives Out, Glass Onion feels delicately crafted to take its audience on a truly unique tour of its character’s lives and various misdeeds. There are thrills, laughs, highs, and lows in equal measure, with billionaire splendour kept at the forefront to highlight the otherness of Bron as a character. In this, Glass Onion perfectly captures how detached from reality the super-rich truly are, with its story seeming particularly pertinent to Elon Musk’s own questionable business decisions around the time of the film’s release.

There’s very little not to love about Glass Onion. It’s fun from start to finish, and it expands upon the character of Benoit Blanc perfectly to make him one of the most enthralling fictional detectives to exist. Combined with the way the Knives Out franchise seems to be single-handedly reviving the whodunnit genre, it’s clear that Glass Onion is a huge success in more ways than one.

Rating: 85%

Summary: Glass Onion manages to balance a serious story with a dark and socially-conscious sort of comedy, serving as an excellent expansion to the original film. Its standalone story is also a big draw – a neat and tightly-written narrative that’s both entertaining and satisfying in turns.

Highlight: Daniel Craig seems to be having the time of his life playing Benoit Blanc, pulling off daring feats of fashion while delivering his lines in an already-iconic Southern drawl. His performance stands out as the brand new sparkling cornerstone of the Knives Out franchise.