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Glass Onion: The 6 Best And 6 Worst Things About The Knives Out Sequel

This article contains spoilers for "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery."

After the positive reception of Rian Johnson's "Knives Out," it should come as no surprise that a sequel was greenlit. The Netflix movie "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" follows our new favorite detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), as he's invited to a private island near Greece to help solve a murder mystery game — or so everyone thinks.

The owner of the island, Miles Bron (Edward Norton), has invited his friends Duke (Dave Bautista), Claire (Kathryn Hahn), Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Birdie (Kate Hudson) for a weekend of fun during the pandemic. He also extends an invite to his former business partner, Andi (Janelle Monáe), whom everyone is surprised to see. While Benoit receives the same invitation as everyone else, it wasn't sent by Miles. This leads everyone to question why he's there.

As several mysteries play out, audiences experience the twists and surprises of what happens on (and before) the island. From working with a secret twin to confronting the cloud hanging over everyone, Benoit has his hands full trying to solve both a staged murder mystery and a real murder (or two). With confusing moments, great reveals, and parts that fall flat, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the movie. Here are the best and worst moments of "Glass Onion." 

Best: The celebrity cameos

One of the selling points of the first "Knives Out" was the cast. Filled with the likes of Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas, the sequel takes the same approach with another stacked cast that includes Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kathryn Hahn.

In addition to a great cast, "Glass Onion" has plenty of celebrity cameos. From famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma to world-renown tennis player Serena Williams, the movie is packed with recognizable celebrities who are seen playing the popular video game "Among Us," attending Birdie's party during the pandemic, and more. It's like a fun game of hide-and-seek trying to find them all. There are even some who don't appear in the flesh, but you still can't miss them.

"Hawkeye's" Jeremy Renner appears on a hot sauce bottle, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the voice of a clock. "Glass Onion" even features the final performances of two celebrities who died: composer Stephen Sondheim and actress Angela Lansbury, both of whom are in the same scene opposite Daniel Craig.

Worst: Duke's Google Search alerts

Duke Cody, a men's activist and Twitch-turned-YouTube streamer, isn't one of the most appealing characters in "Glass Onion." He carries a gun (even when he's wearing a Speedo at the pool) and has his girlfriend and assistant Whiskey (Madelyn Cline) sleep with Miles in an attempt to further his career. Still, he's the only one who is honest with Andi about why the group turned on her, even if that's his last major act before his death.

However, the most nonsensical and unnerving part of his personality is his Google alerts. He has them for all of his friends and things he likes, including an alert for the word "movies." His phone is constantly going off with these alerts. Even during more serious moments, such as when he addresses the elephant in the room of how the group has treated Andi, his phone is dinging in the background.

Even though the end of the alerts is supposed to be a clue that the person responsible for his death has his phone, it just comes as a relief. There are no more constant beeps in the background that pull the focus away from what's happening.

Best: The opening puzzle box sequence

Part of the fun of "Knives Out" is the countless puzzles and clues that appear along the way. "Glass Onion" takes this to the next level by drawing audiences in with a seemingly magic puzzle box that's filled with tasks to work through to find the note on the inside. As the group works on the puzzle over the phone, solving it step by step, they find out what Miles is sending them and where their journey will lead.

The opening sequence sets the tone for the movie right away. While certainly not the most elaborate or difficult puzzle the characters have to solve, it's an awesome introduction to what the characters can expect during their weekend away. It is also a mystery that most of the cast gets to take part in, as they don't get to help with the true mystery that brought them all to Miles' private island until the very end. 

The puzzle box gives the viewers an idea of who could help solve the mystery of Duke's death. Lionel primarily solves the puzzle box, with Birdie and Claire just following along for the most part. It's a great foreshadowing device that hints at who will pick up on the important details later on.

Worst: Benoit Blanc ruining the murder mystery party

Despite being one of the best detectives of all time, Benoit Blanc sometimes has trouble reading the room. After he's invited to the private island as part of the mystery (as far as the rest of the group knows), he ends up solving the faux murder that Miles planned in a matter of five minutes. What was supposed to take the group the entire weekend is distilled down into a simple explanation before any of them can look for a single clue. 

Benoit's solving the mystery so quickly seems like a cop-out. Other than foreshadowing, it doesn't add much to the plot. He could've let the party play the scenario out to see if it organically led him and Helen to Andi's killer or even just revealed more information about what everyone's motives might be. It would've been the perfect cover as they scoured the island for clues.

It also feels a bit disingenuous of Benoit. Does he like solving mysteries? Sure, but why would he ruin the only thing that would keep people busy so he could carry out the real investigation at hand? It seems a touch out of character for the Benoit audiences were introduced to in "Knives Out."

Best: Benoit Blanc playing Among Us during the pandemic

Although Benoit Blanc ruins the murder mystery party written by Gillian Flynn, he spends his pandemic quarantine doing what the rest of us did — playing "Among Us" over Skype. He spends his virtual time in his bathtub, hanging out with his celebrity friends (including Natasha Lyonne) and trying to convince them he isn't the imposter (but failing). The detective seems a bit confused about the premise of the game, not understanding why the game has to end just because he was found out.

Watching him struggle to play the game and his famous friends heckling him for his less-than-stellar performance are highlights. It's relatable as the movie cycles through what everyone is doing in quarantine. It's also a fun way to incorporate some celebrity cameos. Benoit's loss, combined with his takeover of his bathroom, shows just what kind of lull the detective is in. He's just like everyone else. It's an endearing moment that gives insight into one of the main characters.

Worst: How easily the group is manipulated

From a governor running for senate to a washed-up supermodel, the group of friends Miles brings to the island is filled with a variety of personalities. However, what comes as a bit of a surprise is just how easily manipulated they are. As the story unfolds, it's revealed that all of them lied in court to help Miles. Their loyalty boils down to one thing — money. He funded Claire's political campaign, was a silent investor in Birdie's company, and he employs Lionel. The trajectories of their careers and their futures rely on Miles' deep pockets.

However, as soon as it's revealed that Miles will go broke because of his soon-to-be failed investment in a hydrogen-based fuel (that sounds just as deadly as it), they drop him like a hot potato. Without access to his money, they don't care about or stand by him. Instead, they turn to Helen and commit to telling the authorities what they saw and heard on the island so Miles can be prosecuted for the murders of Andi and Duke.

While this should come across as a moment of moral clarity, it doesn't. They're not willing to stand by Helen until it becomes clear that Miles is going to be broke the moment everyone leaves the island. It's incredibly easy to manipulate them, making what should've been a powerful plot moment fall flat. And it's likely they are only following Helen because they believe she will receive a payout for her sister's part of the company when the dust settles.

Best: The twin swap

"Glass Onion" is filled with twists and turns. However, the best is learning that Andi has a twin sister named Helen. She's who brought Benoit into the game. Andi is dead and can't bring Miles to justice, but that isn't going to stop Helen. She is cutthroat, leaving no stone unturned as she tries to figure out who has the motive to kill her sister.

Helen seems to fool everyone with her act, and even though Claire thinks something is off, she believes it's for a completely different reason. Once the audience is let in on the secret, it's great to see how she's gathered her intel and prepped for the role of a lifetime, which includes chatting with Whiskey, accidentally getting drunk on Jared Leto's kombucha, and faking her death with the help of Jeremy Renner's hot sauce.

It also adds another hint of mystery. What was Miles planning to do? His attempt to kill Helen only worked because Duke tried to blackmail him. That results in Miles spiking Duke's drink with pineapple juice to trigger a fatal allergic reaction, allowing him to take the Twitch streamer's gun. If Duke hadn't seen the Google Search alert about Andi's death, how would Miles have gone about taking care of Helen?

Worst: Birdie Jay

Of all the characters in "Glass Onion," Birdie Jay is easily the worst. Sure, Duke is a bit much as a men's rights activist, and Claire is an uptight senate candidate, but Birdie is all the worst things about influencers wrapped up in one person. 

When she met Andi, Birdie was a former supermodel. When the audience meets her, she's still a former supermodel, but now, she has a popular loungewear brand that is about to have a PR nightmare because it's made in unethical conditions. What's worse is that Birdie has an email approving the labor taking place in one of the largest sweatshops. She claims she doesn't realize what the term means, just like she doesn't seem to realize what many terms mean, as she repeatedly comes under fire for distasteful tweets.

Birdie Jay is everything that is wrong with influencer culture. There isn't anything endearing about her. At least with Miles, you can see his empathy in bankrolling his friends' pursuits, even if he uses it as a way to hold something over them. Birdie simply cannot make a distinction between right and wrong. She doesn't care to, either, so long as everything revolves around her.

Best: The foreshadowing in paintings

The "Mona Lisa" is one of the most important foreshadowing elements in the film. While the rumor that her eyes follow you has been debunked (via Live Science), it works well in "Glass Onion." Miles has the real painting on loan from the Louvre, and the camera continually focuses on the eyes. It shows that someone is always watching. In this case, it's Helen. As she takes Miles down, she looks back at the camera in a shot that mirrors the "Mona Lisa," reinforcing that Helen was always the one watching.

The "Mona Lisa" isn't the only painting that hints at what happens on the island. When Benoit and Helen are sharing what they've learned so far in the bathroom, "Icarus" by Henri Matisse is behind the detective. The work of art features a human-like silhouette with a single red mark. That mark happens to correspond with where Helen is shot later. Even though we have already seen it happen, it's a great callback.

And there is the snake painting in Andi's house. While she sits on her couch, we see a black and white striped ouroboros (a snake eating its tail) in the background. This is a subtle reminder that Miles, the real snake of the story, is going to be the cause of his own demise. 

Worst: A white man cuts a Black woman out of her own company

One of the worst things about "Glass Onion" is what drives the plot. Miles and Andi created their company, Alpha, based on Andi's initial idea written on a bar napkin. However, when Andi doesn't agree with the direction in which Miles wants to take the company, he cuts her out. Using his friends to do his dirty work, he convinces the courts that he had the original idea for the company and takes over, tossing aside Andi's hard work. When the real evidence comes out, he takes the coward's way and kills her before she can share it with the world.

In a time when elevated stories are encouraged, "Glass Onion" goes the tired route of a white man taking something from a Black woman. Miles lets Andi build the company on her idea, only to shove her down because he knows he can get the system to work in his favor. He even encourages their friend group to turn their backs on her because of the money he offered. He was never the true brains behind the operation, and that comes out in several moments throughout the movie. Without Andi, Miles operates unchecked, and it costs him his company in the end.

Best: How Helen takes Miles down

Ultimately, the best moment in "Glass Onion" is how Helen uses Miles' work against him to bring his world crashing down. After he burns the original napkin, which proves Andi is the one who came up with the idea that launched the company, it seems like he will do anything to save his empire. However, Helen, with the help of trusty Detective Blanc, is one step ahead of him. She builds a fire in the center of the room they're all in, using the solid hydrogen Miles has been flashing all night to make the flames grow. This causes the glass onion to explode, ruining everything in the building, including the priceless "Mona Lisa."

As the snake painting foreshadows, Miles' power takes him down. Everyone told him it was dangerous, but he didn't believe it. Now, as everything he has worked for goes down in flames, it's hard not to realize they were right. While the group says they will testify in her favor, Helen can at least leave the island knowing she has destroyed everything Miles either stole from her sister or had because of her.

Just as Miles wanted, his name will always be associated with the "Mona Lisa" —  but only because his investment ruined it.

Worst: The destruction of the Mona Lisa

Although it works well as foreshadowing and as part of Miles' downfall, knowing that in the "Knives Out" universe, the "Mona Lisa" has been burned to a crisp is heartbreaking. It's one of the world's most well-known paintings. Why the Louvre would loan it to Miles is a question we don't have the answer to, though we can assume it's because he offered them quite a bit of cash. It wasn't the best decision.

While the painting's incineration makes the point Helen was trying to get across and will ensure Miles loses his power position, it is a priceless work of art that can't be replaced and will forever be lost. There are photographs, but nothing can compare to the real thing. And because of Miles and his actions, it's gone. Helen triggered the release to cause the protective glass to slide down, exposing the painting to the flames, but it's all rooted in Miles' decisions to take advantage of those around him. Because of him, the Mona Lisa is gone and can't be recovered — just like his reputation as soon as the news breaks on the mainland.