Is Glass Onion as good as Knives Out? We look at the highly entertaining Netflix sequel, compare it to the original, and deeply dive into all those cameos!
Director Rian Johnson‘s sequel to his highly entertaining 2019 mystery Knives Out is precisely what studio escapism should be. You have a big named cast with a deep bench. A script that’s whip-smart and marvelously constructed, which happens to be very funny and highly entertaining. But do you need to see the original to enjoy the sequel? Let’s take a look and compare the two films!
Do you need to see Knives Out before Glass Onion?
Absolutely not, but you should. Why? Yes, Glass Onion is a stand-alone story, and seeing Rian Johnson’s original can give you a taste, feel, and a glimpse of the delirious style he not just establishes but instills in both of these scripts. The viewer will also get a taste of why Daniel Craig‘s Benoit Blanc is so revered and famous, like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. However, Glass Onion is like reading an installment of the great modern mystery writers like Child, Crais, or Connelly. You could read almost any of their popular series to start. You’ll then want to start from the beginning.
Is Glass Onion a good movie?
If you read my review for Ready Steady Cut, I called Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery –
“Deliriously entertaining and as close an equivalent of a great mystery novel as an original movie can get. The perfect blend of writing, direction, and production while not forgetting the cardinal rules of a great mystery. Establish good character, an intriguing setting and plot, and a satisfying conclusion that allows the audience a chance to solve the riddle themselves. With Knives Out easter eggs galore, you have an exciting time at the movies with this one.”
Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion currently holds a 93% approval rate out of 237 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The critic consensus reads:
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery brings back Benoit Blanc for another wildly entertaining mystery rounded out by an outstanding ensemble cast.”
If you are looking for a few brave critics standing alone on their sanctimonious hill, Candice Frederick of the Huffington Post said the sequel “Makes for a profoundly empty viewing experience.” Though I do enjoy The Financial Times’ Danny Leigh’s wordplay, “Johnson is clearly more tickled by the Who than the Dunnit. Once it arrives, the actual murder case is treated like a chore.“
Is Glass Onion as good as Knives Out?
The original Knives Out currently holds a jaw-dropping 97% approval rate out of 474 reviews. The critic consensus reads:
“Knives Out sharpens old murder-mystery tropes with a keenly assembled suspense outing that makes brilliant use of writer-director Rian Johnson’s stellar ensemble.”
Ready Steady Cut called Knives Out –
“The best type of crowd-pleaser; one intensely tuned in to the current political movement and on making the audience open their heart and look at the cruel systems around them while never forgetting to tell a thrilling story. The end of the film culminates in a final shot as close to perfect as anything I’ve seen all year and left me grinning for hours afterward.”
And very rarely do sequels, besides exceptions like Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, or Top Gun: Maverick, ever surpass the original. Knives Out had an even bigger cast and a more complex plot, but you may call the sequel funnier and even more entertaining.
Who is the cameo in Glass Onion?
There are cameos galore in Glass Onion. My favorite is Ethan Hawke, a man of few words yet hilarious and ultra-powerful dispenser of a very secret Covid-19 antibiotic that’s like a single solid spray of Binaca. You also have Craig’s Blanc zooming Angela Lansberry and Steven Sondheim (filmed a few months before their passing). Along with the star of the future Rian Johnson Peacock vehicle Poker Face, Natasha Lyonne, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
You also have Hugh Grant‘s very brief cameo as Blanc’s partner. Joseph Gordon Levitt, who starred in Johnson’s best film Brick, voices a Bron invention voices the hourly chime (this one even surprised me). Serena Williams does live “mirror” workouts in Bron’s gym. Finally, Jeremy Renner is given a shout-out because Bron sponsors his hot sauce and Jared Leto’s alcoholic kombucha.