It’s likely you have high expectations for this film, if you enjoyed the first one as much as I did. And that’s a dangerous thing. But I’m happy to report that this is both not the same movie as the first one and manages to still hit some similar topical notes. I think it mostly accomplishes what the first one did, which is high praise.
As sequels go, I think this does what you would want: it takes a roughly similar idea, puts it in a different situation with a different plot, hitting some of the same beats but also hitting new ones. It recalls other puzzle box mysteries and also some famous parodies. There are Last of Sheila echoes, brief Murder by Death echoes, perhaps even some The Magus echoes, in addition the Christie stuff.
And it has fun with this stuff. The murder mystery game plot is completely subverted, instead of being the focus of the plot, like in the movies I mentioned above. And there other a few other twists on the conventions of the genre which are enjoyable, like how early the plot is explained to the plotters (usually the climax of a film like this).
And there are gags and laughs, of course. One of the appeals of the first film is how funny it is. I’m not sure this is as funny, but it’s still pretty funny. Much like the first film, in addition to the genre play, there are gags rooted in character and in the situation. (My favourite might be the garden gag.)
And, like the first film, there’s social comment. And this time it’s different but perhaps even more effective, given what has happened in the last 6 months with a particular billionaire. Some people have complained the plot isn’t as good, but that’s literally the point of the social comment of the film. It takes a lot of skill to effectively weave social comment into plot, but both films do it well. This one is just particularly well-timed with what it has to say about billionaires. (Perhaps about a specific billionaire, though I am just guessing.)
Sure, I didn’t find this as delightful as the first film. But that’s because I had no idea what I was getting into last time. I had basically no expectations beyond “Rian Johnson made an Agatha Christie film, I’ll probably enjoy that.” But now I do have expectations and they are hard to satisfy. So it’s good to set those aside and just watch what’s on screen. And what’s on screen is a funny mystery comedy with some incisive barbs about how billionaires make their money.
I look forward to the next one.