Director: M Night Shyamalan
Release Date: January 23, 2019
The follow up to 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s Split, Glass is a confused, convoluted mess of a conclusion to a trilogy that should have never happened.
At the end of Split we got the classic M Night Shyamalan twist. We see David Dunn (Bruce Willis) sitting in a Philadelphia coffee shop and one patron says to him that this reminds him of the train crash with only one survivor (David) 15 years earlier. This one twist puts the movie in the same universe, telling us there will be a third movie in this trilogy we’ve just been made aware of.
The story starts off just two week after Split ends. The Horde (James McAvoy) has kidnapped four teenage girls. It’s all over the news and David Dunn is walking through Philadelphia grazing people’s hands to see if his super-hero sixth sense goes off — telling him who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy. Trying to get lucky and run into The Horde. He’s been active in his vigilante justice as of late, beating up assholes who are jumping random people for YouTube hits. Of course the cops are after him too.
Very quickly he finds the girls. He sets them free and has a showdown with The Horde’s most freakish of its 24 personalities known as “The Beast.” They fight it out strength on strength until the cops and psychologist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) surround them and take them in. All of this happens in the first 10 minutes. Shyamalan wastes no time giving the audience some thrills with a superhero fistfight and getting all three of his leads in the same asylum.
The opening sequence feels like a typical superhero intro. We get a strength-on- strength stalemate fistfight between our two most physically gifted characters — some quick thrills for audience members who came to see some shit break. Shyamalan is fully embracing the fact that this is a superhero movie and that it is HIS superhero movie, unlike the previous two films, which are much more unconventional and subtle in that regard.
I’ve spent a lot of time already giving a synopsis and backstory from the previous movies. You can’t watch Glass without seeing the previous two films. The story relies so heavily on the backstory that anyone who hasn’t seen either Unbreakable or especially Split is going to be really lost. Each of our superheroes have one important supportive person in their life. David has his son, Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) has his mother, and even psychopath teenage girl murderer has the one girl that he let go free from the previous film in his corner as emotional support. These relationships are all directly connected to the previous films. Shyamalan spends a lot of time connecting the three films together in a way that wouldn’t make sense to someone who hasn’t done their research going in.
Glass is the most boring film of the three. The opening sequence is generic as hell. Once we’re in the asylum with three heroes being held captive and studied there’s some potential there. That potential is ultimately wasted on some really bad dialog and performance from Sarah Paulson, whose character is the leading psychologist who specializes in people who believe they are superheroes. We also don’t hear from Mr. Glass for a long time. This seems like a waste of a talent in Samuel L. Jackson and, given Shyamalan’s reputation, you just know he’s up to something making the twist that you know is coming pretty unsatisfying.
The film also spends too much time explaining how comic books work. In 2019 we have a new comic book movie coming out in what seems like every two weeks, so I’m pretty sure we all know how comic books work and don’t need it explained to us for 30 minutes. It bores you to death and I found myself counting down the minutes to the end.
M Night Shyamalan has had his ups and downs. Some really good thrillers such as The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable, etc. (pun intended). And of course some that didn’t do so well that are also well documented like The Happening, Lady in the Water, etc. One thing about his films is that they are never boring.
Glass was just that. Boring.
It fell flat with underused actors (with the exception of James McAvoy, who plays 24 different people) and a story that honestly just kinda sucked. There are a lot of picky things I could go further into about the story that bother me, but ultimately it doesn’t matter.
This one is a miss and hopefully this is the final conclusion to a superhero universe that might sadly continue.