The Movie Guru: ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story’ and ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ a fantastic set of sequels
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story” (Netflix)
Turns out Benoit Blanc is even better the second time around.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story,” is an absolutely delightful murder mystery, even more fun than the original and with a better-timed twist. It’s also just as dedicated to skewering rich people as the original, with a few surprises that makes it almost ridiculously timely. If you love mysteries, you don’t want to miss your visit to the Glass Onion.
In the movie, Blanc (Daniel Craig) is accidentally invited to a murder mystery weekend held by a rich tech giant on his private island. When the murder turns very real, however, Blanc discovers that these rich friends are hiding all kinds of dark secrets. Can he discover the truth and help see justice done before it’s too late?
If the original “Knives Out” was more of a Columbo-style mystery, the sequel is pure Agatha Christie. Even the smallest conversation can turn out to have a huge impact on the story, and if you want to beat Blanc to the truth, you have to pay attention to everything. The movie never cheats on the buildup even when it pulls surprises. When you do find out the truth, you can go back and see every clue that lead up to it.
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The cast is fantastic, with a particular shout out to Craig, Janelle Monae and Edward Norton. If you have to be stuck on an island solving a mystery, these are definitely the people you want to be doing it with.
And if Blanc gets another onscreen mystery to solve, I’ll definitely be back.
Grade: Four stars
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” (in theaters)
Sometimes a sequel is more than just a sequel.
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is better than it has any right to be, a fun, unexpectedly deep fantasy that will entertain kids and touch adult hearts. It stands completely on its own, while at the same time managing a few artful, well-placed nods to the “Shrek” universe. The animation even has some stylistic flair, just like Puss himself.
The movie starts with Puss in Boots on a solo adventure, but when it doesn’t end well, we learn the unfortunate truth. Puss has already burned through eight of his lives, and now a mysterious bounty hunter wants to finish off the ninth. The only way to save himself is by finding the last wish, but it turns out he’s not the only person on the trail.
A lot of kids’ movies try to appeal to adult audiences by sneaking in jokes, but “The Last Wish” goes straight for the heart of the story. Beneath a genuinely fun, sweet adventure is a story about fear, regret, and learning to focus on what really matters. The heavier themes are handled so deftly adults in the audience might find themselves choking up a little.
Of course, there are also plenty of exciting chase scenes, silly moments and genuine movie magic to help it go down even smoother. Because no matter how old you get, you’re never too old for a good fairy tale.
Grade: Three and a half stars
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at email@example.com.