This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
esther’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
when a character says "discourse" in the first five minutes i knew it was going to be a bad time. of all the directions johnson could've taken this, the last one i wanted was to get even more twitter-brained. it's got that sort of celeb quasi-socialist vibe where you say "screw the rich!" but you don't actually have any politics beyond that and your only conception of how to make change is for other rich and famous people to tweet sternly-worded disapproval of billionaires whose only real crime in your eyes is being too dumb to deserve their wealth. rian even snuck in another Virtuous Poor Woman Audience Surrogate via mid-film twist. even the covid stuff is completely extraneous, just another tossed-off reason for the audience to feel like better people than the comically loathsome cast. talk about spontaneous vomiting.
but yknow, all that aside, it's still just kind of bad. it has the same problem as knives out in that it is an extremely tedious and unsatisfying mystery. second time in a row that the killer is the most obvious guy from the second he appears on screen. for once it would be great if the reveal of the mystery was an actual surprise! even the mechanics of the crimes are stupid, and while that's admittedly by design it's so much less fun to watch than something that's actually clever.
people said this has a slow first hour but then it picks up and i have no idea what they're talking about. the first hour is the only part that's tolerable because it has a few good jokes. then it immediately launches into a 40 minute flashback that starts out with characters listing a million contrivances to make the twist make sense and then just rehashes everything we've already seen. if you're going to structure your movie this way you have really got to get through the flashback part quicker. the audience was audibly enjoying the movie but you could hear people go quiet and shuffle in their seats for that whole section.
no one will believe me but i didn't go into this with hater mindset. i was prepared for it to at least be an improvement on knives out! but it's not it's still bad, in fact it's kind of just knives out all over again, right down to the final shot. i know that rian can do better than this. but i also know that 100 million dollars to make more of these is a lot of money so i kind of can't begrudge him half-assing here.