Why The Menu’s Satire Fails Where Glass Onion’s Succeeds – Trending News

Why The Menu’s Satire Fails Where Glass Onion’s Succeeds

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The Menu and Knives Out: Glass Onion have similar premises and class commentary, but Glass Onion’s satire lampoons its targets more effectively.


Late 2022 saw the release of two very similar thriller-comedies in both Mark Mylod’s The Menu and Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, but only the latter of the two manages to hit its intended marks fully. The Menu is an original story about a group of wealthy foodies who visit the island of a mysterious world-renowned chef (Ralph Fiennes), whereas Glass Onion is a sequel that follows Knives Out‘s detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he investigates a group of “elite” modern entrepreneurs on a lavish getaway. Both movies saw massive streaming success after a relatively short run in theaters in November 2022, inviting some comparison.

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Immediately apparent is how alike both movies are in premise and intention, taking place on secluded islands as an unexpected mystery slowly unfolds among the well-to-do attendees. Though The Menu carries a more horror like tone while Glass Onion is more of a sunny romp, they both also present themselves as satires, comically skewering the likes of their islands’ over-privileged guests. Nonetheless, by being timelier, less one-dimensional, and more specific, Glass Onion makes many of the same points more elegantly, while having more fun doing it to boot.

Related: Glass Onion Continues The 2 Oldest Rian Johnson Traditions


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One of The Menu‘s most glaring shortcomings compared to Glass Onion is that, despite the movie’s more overtly serious tone, its rich characters are written far more simplistically. Within the movie’s first five minutes, it’s made all too abundantly clear that viewers are supposed to view nearly every attendee on the island as detestable, pretentious, and stupid immediately – an impression that never truly ebbs or changes over the remainder of the runtime. Making heavy-handed use of Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) as the lone “normal person”, the movie’s class commentary offers little more nuance than simply depicting snooty elitists just as any audience member likely already imagines them.

Of course, Glass Onion‘s rich characters are no less the objects of ridicule. In fact, the Knives Out sequel focuses on the flaws of its rich main cast just as much. However, this is an impression that the movie cleverly plays back at the audience, keenly aware of the average person’s tendency to give those characters’ off-screen equivalents the benefit of the doubt.

After a second murder takes place within the direct orbit of “tech genius” billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), this time directly at his island home, Benoit Blanc immediately dismisses the all-too-obvious idea that Bron could be a suspect by surmising “Miles Bron is not an idiot.” However, the movie’s climactic heel-turn reveals the joke as both on the audience and the Miles Brons of the world simultaneously: Bron is every bit the fool he tries so hard to pretend not to be, and Blanc is openly disappointed in this very lack of nuance that The Menu flaunts unconsciously.

Glass Onion’s Message Is Both More Timely And Fun

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At the end of the day, both The Menu and Glass Onion ultimately exist to poke fun at a class of people too privileged to understand the damage they’re doing, but The Menu hardly does more than affirm that very point several times before simply killing off its characters. By contrast, Glass Onion draws direct parallels to specific influencers, self-branded “disruptors”, and corporate giants of current times, highlighting the distinctly modern ways they go about hiding behind the appearance of innovation and insight. In respecting its audience’s inherent and informed perception of its targets, the movie has a far easier time scoring laughs along the way.

More: Everything We Know About Knives Out 3

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