In Glass, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Lady in the Water) intends to bring together his previous two “anti-superhero” films (Unbreakable, Split) with a third and final chapter to conclude the storyline. Unfortunately, in his desire to break the classic superhero mold, he instead ends up with a two hour and ten minute long piece...read more
In Glass, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Lady in the Water) intends to bring together his previous two “anti-superhero” films (Unbreakable, Split) with a third and final chapter to conclude the storyline. Unfortunately, in his desire to break the classic superhero mold, he instead ends up with a two hour and ten minute long piece of film that never says anything at all and instead leaves audiences with more questions.
Glass begins where Shyamalan’s film Split left off, which finished with Kevin Wendell Crumb played by James McAvoy (Split, Atonement) being taken over by his dominant personalities, such as super-human being The Beast. Meanwhile, Unbreakable’s David Dunn, played by Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Pulp Fiction) is indestructible, having survived a train wreck which in turn clued him in to his superpower and has been roaming the streets for 19 years, cloaking his identity in a rain cloak, to stop petty crimes.
Dunn and Crumb come to heads and are policed away to a mental health facility by Dr. Ellie Staple, played by Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, 12 Years a Slave), intendant on locking them in separate rooms and convincing them of their delusions of superheroric grandeur. Also in the facility, is the criminally insane Elijah Price aka. Mr. Glass, played by Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight), arrested for the wrongdoings committed at the end of Unbreakable.
Staple tries to convince the three men they are not in fact comic book-like superheroes all the while Elijah sets a plan into motion to convince the world that superheroes do in fact exist. Elijah’s mother Mrs. Price, played by Charlayne Woodard (Unbreakable, The Crucible), Casey Cooke, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Morgan) and Joseph Dunn, played by Spencer Treat Clark (Animal Kingdon, Gladiator), attempt to save the three men from a terribly dark fate.
The best qualities of the film are the standard Shyamalan twists and turns and not having any idea what is truly the purpose of the plot until it becomes something else entirely. The twists are in fact what will make or break the movie for most. However, the narrative although complex and quite layered, is unfortunately presented in such a haphazardly rushed fashion that it never truly gains any traction.
On a positive note, the performances are quite enjoyable with McAvoy especially stealing the screen due to his multiple personalities and therefore characters involved in his role. Willis truly commits to his role delivering a grounded and convincing performance and displays some of his best acting in a long while. And as for Jackson, he delights in moments where he can be humorous and cunning and truly lay it on thick; offering much-needed comic relief to an otherwise tense screenplay.
Overall, Glass isn’t a poorly executed film, more so just one that falls a bit flat in terms of a long-awaited sequel to a phenomenal film like Unbreakable from a normally intelligent director such as Shyamalan. It’s most definitely an unconventional superhero story and so long as expectations aren’t of anything from the Marvel universe, it can hold it’s own as the psychological thriller that it truly is.
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