REVIEW–Today we review Knives Out, Rian Johnson’s new whodunit murder mystery movie! Much more universally well-received than Johnson’s last film, Knives Out stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Michael Shannon as General Zod, and K Callan as Martha Kent.
The film opens with the death of noted anti-Nazi military officer, Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). Captain von Trapp has carved out a comfortable life for himself after escaping the Nazis and has made a career as a mystery author–writing under the pseudonym “Harlan Thrombey.” In the wake of Captain von Trapp’s mysterious death, First Order stormtrooper FN-007 (Daniel Craig) is dispatched to investigate and quickly begins to suspect foul play as he interviews potential suspects. These include Captain von Trapp’s mother, Martha Kent; the Captain’s son, General Zod (yeah, figure that one out); the Captain’s other children with their spouses and families; and von Trapp’s personal nurse, Marta (Ana de Armas). Additionally, another anti-Nazi captain, Steve Rogers, appears halfway through the film and introduces himself as one of Captain von Trapp’s non-singing grandchildren. Once the family is informed by Captain von Trapp’s attorney, Jedi Master Yoda (Frank Oz), that to Marta has Captain von Trapp left his entire fortune, into chaos the family sinks, and unfold do many dramatic twists and turns.
Upon watching Knives Out, many fans have noted how unusual Steve Rogers acts in this film. Far from the selfless, heroic patriot we’ve all seen in the Captain America and Avengers films, Rogers here is a hotshot playboy, acting selfish and uncaring toward everyone else. In fact, very unlike the real Captain America, Rogers even says quite a few bad language words to his family members! These actions have led many viewers to speculate that this is not the true Steve Rogers we all know and love, but actually Hydra Cap, a.k.a. Stevil Rogers, Steve’s evil doppelganger from the recent comics! With the real Steve out of the picture after Avengers: Endgame, Marvel may have thought this was the ideal time to introduce Hydra Cap in order to keep Chris Evans around for more movies! And if this version of Cap is secretly aligned with Hydra, then that would give him clear motive for wanting his anti-Nazi grandfather dead…
During the course of the film, the family begins fighting over how to divide up the deceased von Trapp’s inheritance. Shocked and disappointed to have their expectations so subverted at the reading of von Trapp’s will, the entire family reacts by whining, complaining, bickering, and trying to manipulate others into giving them what they wanted. Though some audience members may not have realized this, Rian Johnson actually based these petty family members on the Star Wars fans who complained about The Last Jedi not meeting their expectations! A more realistic and compelling portrayal has rarely been seen in cinema!
Stevil Rogers especially covets von Trapp’s vast inheritance and intentionally stirs up fights among the family. He gets into a confrontation with General Zod (well, maybe that isn’t such a bad thing) and is eventually revealed as the guilty party who tried to murder von Trapp and frame Marta for it! In a jealous rage, Stevil even assaults Marta and attempts to kill her! But when Trooper FN-007 pleads with him to “Save Marta,” Stevil stops, momentarily stunned, and asks, “WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?” It turns out that the name “Marta” has an emotional connection to Stevil, reminding him of his great-grandmother Martha, and so in the end he can’t kill Marta after all.
Knives Out is a refreshingly fun, unexpected, and unconventional murder mystery with enough secrets, twists, and turns to keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat ’til the end. It’s a very creative installment in the Marvel and Star Wars universes, showing new and different sides to many of our favorite characters! Go watch it if you haven’t already!
What was your favorite part of the film?