And it was just going to be hard for Johnson to top his original film, which was so smart and unique — hilarious, but also legitimately exciting. His characters felt richer (no pun intended) the first time around, and his ensemble cast had more to do across the board. “Glass Onion” offers some meaty and meaningful performances, especially from Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudsonand Daniel Craig, again doing his best Foghorn Leghorn impression as the intrepid detective Benoit Blanc. And several of his high-profile cameos are a giddy delight. But multi-talented actors capable of daring, exciting work, such as Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathryn Hahnis frustratingly wasted in underdeveloped supporting parts.
Still, if you can catch “Glass Onion” in its one-week theatrical run before it streams on Netflix starting Dec. 23, it’s a movie that benefits from the collective energy of an enthusiastic audience. Plus, it helps you avoid spoilers that might trickle out over the next month. So: here it comes!
Edward Norton plays Miles Bron, a tech billionaire who isn’t nearly as brilliant as he thinks. Once a year, he gathers his tight-knit clique—a disparate group of people who smugly refer to themselves as “The Disruptors”—for a lavish weekend getaway. This time he’s shipped them all multi-layered puzzle boxes (an early indicator of that kind of elaborate production design Rick Heinrichs has in store for us) as a tease for the murder mystery he has planned on his isolated escape. His mansion manages to be at once ostentatious yet chicly minimalist, a sign that he has no recognizable personal style.
His guests include Hudson’s model-influenced Birdie, who keeps getting in trouble for tweets she doesn’t realize are racist; Hahn’s married mother and no-nonsense politician Claire; Dave Bautistas brawny men’s rights YouTuber Duke Cody and his scantily clad girlfriend, Whiskey (Madelyn Cline, find surprising shade); and Odom’s beleaguered scientist, Lionel, who endures urgent faxes from Miles at all hours of the day and night. Also receiving an unexpected invitation is the jovial and fashionable Benoit Blanc, who delights in the fun of this challenge as he works on the sea between cases. Once again, watching Craig goof off is a real treat.