Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery sees two franchise refugees participate in a sequel that suggests…another franchise.

Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) and ex-James Bond Daniel Craig reunite for a new Benoit Blanc mystery. Glass Onion, which is out on Netflix, follows Knives Out (2019), with ambitions of being a whodunit in the mould of Agatha Christie as well as a whydunit with social commentary.

Blanc, the Sherlockian-Poiroitian detective of indefinable accent and genius-level detection skills, is among the guests invited by tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) to his private island in Greece. Bron’s itinerary includes the announcement of a murder, a prospect that excites his long-term friends – Miles’s chief scientist Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr), fashion designer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), politician Claire (Kathryn Hahn) and men’s rights activist Duke (Dave Bautista).

Birdie’s assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick) and Duke’s girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline) are a part of the guest list. Miles’s former business partner Cassandra (Janelle Monae) has been invited too despite losing a case of intellectual copyright theft against Miles – a plot hole that Rian Johnson, who has also written the film, is having too much fun to fill.

There are other gaping gaps in the screenplay, from clues hiding in plain sight to characters who discuss vital secrets loudly so that Blanc may eavesdrop on them. About the biggest head-scratcher is a character who is supposedly well-known but whose presence on the island raises no more than an eyebrow from the eventual killer.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). Courtesy Netflix.

Blanc’s unerring guesswork, which leads him to correctly summarise events for which he has neither been present nor has evidence, might have prompted Hercule Poirot to say comment? How?

The lack of rigour in Blanc’s investigative process is sought to be compensated by big swings at Big Tech and snarky humour about the odious one percent. This virtue signalling has an unforeseen effect on the mystery part of the plot: it narrows down the suspects and makes it easy for viewers to get behind the intended victim.

The potshots at Miles Bron’s gnomic pronouncements and his amoral guests include at least one brilliant joke: a gong whose “sound” has been designed by the renowned composer Phillip Glass. There’s plenty of name-dropping as well as star cameos in a film that pokes fun at entitlement. But one of the gags, which ties this film to a recent extremist movement, is a sign of despair rather than a bold scripting move.

More toothless than the recently released The Menu but more entertaining than the satire Triangle of Sadness, Glass Onion is salvaged by its stellar cast, glossy production values and agreeable sense of mayhem. Daniel Craig, Janelle Morae and Edward Norton are among the most valued players, surviving the carnage with breaking into a sweat.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022).