Review – Glass (2019)
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Produced by: Jason Blum & M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis & Samuel L. Jackson
Release Date: January 18th 2019
I revisited Glass for review last night and I did not enjoy it. Glass is the 3rd movie in M. Night Shyamalan’s pseudo superhero trilogy following Unbreakable and Split. Unfortunately it is probably the worst movie out of the three and doesn’t live up to the twenty years of build-up it had going into it. Full spoilers will be present through this review as it’s kind of hard to discuss the film without spoiling anything.
The movie opens with what is essentially a condensed version of both Unbreakable and Split. We see Bruce Willis’ Dennis Dunn stalking criminals in his poncho and we see James MacAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb keeping four young girls captured in an abandoned warehouse. The old ‘unstoppable force meets immovable object,’ trope plays out and the two of them wind up getting caught by Sarah Paulson and her team, who apparently specialise in investigating those who have delusions about having superhuman powers.
She brings the two of them to a mental hospital where she is keeping Samuel L Jackson’s Mr Glass. Sarah Paulson’s character then spends the next chunk of the movie trying to convince the three that the powers that they believe they possess is actually in their heads and there is a real-world, logical explanation to everything that they can do. This part of the film is actually pretty interesting in the ideas that it poses and I liked where the film was going at this point.
Then the third act happens and we are reminded why Shyamalan so desperately needs an editor to keep his ideas in check. There is this huge build up that takes place teasing an epic fight between Dunn and The Beast at the top of some huge brand new building in the middle of the city. Unfortunately we never get there and instead we just get some mediocre action choreography in a medium sized car park between the two.
The whole thing ends with the fairly contrived ret-con twist that Kevin’s dad was in the same train crash that Dunn survived and Mr Glass caused, thus making Mr Glass the ‘creator,’ of both superheroes. Then the three characters die in an extremely anticlimactic fashion. The Beast breaks a couple of Mr Glass’ bones and he falls out of his wheelchair and dies, (even though this is something that we have seen happen to him in Unbreakable and he survived it.)
Then a sniper randomly shoots Kevin even though the beast is tamed by the appearance of Anya Taylor-Joy’s character, Casey from Split. He just gets shot once and dies with hardly any fanfare. Then David Dunn is drowned in a puddle as Sarah Paulson explains that she is part of a secret organisation that hunts people who believe that they are superheroes. They determine whether or not they really are superheroes through a pretty drawn-out process and then proceeds to kill them if they do in fact possess superpowers.
We also see that for some reason this group apparently only meets in crowded public restaurants in the middle of the city centre in broad daylight and have to wait until any non members of this super secret club, (that just killed 3 people in a public car park in broad daylight in front of cops and family members,) have left the restaurant before they can discuss business. Then it turns out that Mr Glass leaked the footage from the hospital security cameras online so that people would see that superheroes really do exist.
If you are someone that hasn’t seen the movie and doesn’t care about spoilers so you just read this review anyway; your brain is probably falling out of your ear after reading my description of the third act and that’s because on paper this whole sequence of events is absolutely ludicrous and the fact that no one pointed this out during the movie’s production is mind-boggling.
What a waste after two solid movies and a decent two first acts worth of build up…
There are some positives I took away though. It is as much of an absolute joy to watch James McAvoy play so many totally different characters convincingly in one scene as it was in Split, maybe even more so here as we get to see even more personalities emerge and in even quicker succession. He is an utterly phenomenal actor.
It is also cool to see Mr Glass and David Dunn after twenty years to see where they are at in their lives and how they have been spending their time since the events of Unbreakable. There are also some nice shots and camera angles in the film, (more so in the first two acts of the story,) and some nice colour scheme aesthetics going on in certain compositions that made some shots more interesting to look at.
Overall, this movie could have been so much more and in the end it throws away some really potentially interesting plot threads in favour for a few tacked on twists and gives us nothing more than a half-baked conclusion to an otherwise solid trilogy.
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