And I think it's great and none of y'all are going to convince me otherwise.
Love him or hate him, you certainly can’t say that M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t shoot for the stars — especially when you stop and consider just how bold Glass really is.
Nineteen years ago, Shyamalan released Unbreakable — a film which, in many ways, was way ahead of its time as it subverted played with a number of clichés in superhero movies but giving the genre some much-needed levity and realism.
Sixteen years and a number of misfires later, Shyamalan then released Split — a film that marketed itself as a horror movie only to eventually reveal that it takes place in the same universe as Unbreakable all along.
Now, we have the crossover event between Unbreakable and Split that we’ve all been waiting for with Glass and, predictably, people are pretty divided about how they feel about it.
Warning: There won’t be any spoilers for Glass in this review, but I’m probably going to end up spoiling what happens in both Unbreakable and Split.
Set about a month after the events in Split, Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) is up to no good once again as the Horde — that being the four malicious personalities out of the of the 24 who live inside Crumb’s body — has kidnapped another group of girls in an effort to feed them to the most ruthless personality of them, ‘The Beast.’
This time, however, there’s someone standing in his way.
Ever since David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who’s basically been hiding out with his son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), and beating up criminals for the past nineteen years, gotten word of these re-occurring kidnappings, he’s been trying to find the culprit.
If you’ve seen Unbreakable, then you, of course, know that all Dunn has to do to make this discovery is bump into the person who’s responsible and he’ll instantly know.
While it takes a few weeks longer than he might have liked, Dunn does eventually bump into Crumb and then quickly sets out to save the girls.
He does, too, but not without consequence.
Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) has spent the past couple of years tracking not only Dunn, but Crumb and Elijah Price (Samuel Jackson) as well, as she knows that all three of them believe themselves to be some kind of super-powered human being.
She intercepts Dunn and Crumb right when the two of them are about to have a show-down and brings them to a psychiatric hospital where Price, who is under heavy sedatives so that he can’t access the full capabilities of his mind, is being kept.
Staple then explains that she has three days to convince each of them that they are not, in fact, superheroes but are rather just normal human beings with a few unique talents. If she fails, the three of them will all end up in less than desirable prisons, meaning Staple’s techniques to provide results might not be morally questionable at best.
Crumb, Price and Dunn, however, are more interested in either breaking free or, in Dunn’s case, preventing more harm to come to innocent bystanders, meaning that Staple’s methods are probably going to completely backfire at some point or the other.
All of that, if you ask me, makes for a pretty dynamite pitch for a movie.
Here’s the thing about Glass that most people don’t seem to realize and is, perhaps, the reason that it’s gotten quite a lot of negative reviews since it’s release — it doesn’t want to be treated as a comic-book film.
It might fit the criteria of a comic-book film and might even label itself as one, yes, but if you’re going into Glass like this and hoping you get some kind of crossover like we saw in Infinity War, then the problem isn’t the movie but is rather your expectations.
Glass is never trying to be a giant blockbuster in the same way that Unbreakable and Split weren’t either. Granted, both of those movies were able to market themselves in different ways than Glass could, but the point remains the same — M. Night Shyamalan is far more interested in diving into the psychosis of the characters in this universe rather than he is in presenting giant CGI battles.
That, I think, is what Glass does really well.
The way in which Shyamalan constantly goes against expectations by really exploring who these three characters are, what makes them tick and how they treat a world that rejects them ultimately leads to more dramatically rich material than the MCU has ever even bothered to dabble in (except for Black Panther, perhaps).
I’ll admit that there is a noticeable lack of the film’s titular character, Mr. Glass, as Samuel Jackson doesn’t really show up until the second half of the movie. I’ll also admit that Bruce Willis seems to, once again, be sleepwalking through a lot of his scenes — not as egregiously as in something like Death Wish, but he still has that ‘I don’t really want to be here’ look on his face for a lot of the film.
That’s almost forgivable, though, when you take a step back at what Shyamalan’s vision for Glass is. He couldn’t care less about conforming to the norms of the genre. Instead, he wants to have a conversation about how overdone that genre has become (I love the way they constantly point to a McGuffin that you think will come into play during the third act for the film only for them to wind up dismissing it entirely) and how different all of that can look with just a touch of reality/humanity.
Sometimes that’s preachy, sure, but I admire the overall direction that Glass takes.
I also can't speak highly enough in regards to McAvoy's performance. While it's probably not all too realistic of a portrayal of D.I.D., the way that he’s able to switch back and forth between these vastly different personality types at the snap of a finger will never cease to amaze me. He was great in Split (which I re-watched as soon as I got back from seeing Glass last night) and he’s just as great, if not even better, here.
Like every Shyamalan film, ever, there is a twist at the end of this movie and like every Shyamalan film since Signs (I still go to bat for Signs, by the way), the twist is kind of unnecessary and is a distraction more than anything else.
It’s not as obnoxious of a twist as something like The Village, I’ll say, but it’s one that the movie really didn’t need and probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you sat down and began dissecting the film.
That’s because, a whole, Glass probably thinks it’s a bit smarter or more important than it actually is. It’s missing some of the subtle brilliance that Unbreakable had, where people eventually declared it as being a smart film in the years after it’s release, as Glass is trying to immediately give itself that label without laying out all the groundwork to actually earn it.
Harsh as that may sound, I still think Glass is a good movie overall. It might not be as revolutionary as it had hoped, but it does a lot of things right for those of us who are sick of seeing the same old thing over and over again.
So sure, let the nay-sayers call Glass slowly paced or boring (anyone who says that this movie is as bad as The Happening or The Last Airbender seriously needs to check themselves) — all of that just proves why we need this movie now more than ever.
Watch the trailer for Glass here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought of the film!
'Glass' - A superhero movie for those who are sick of superhero movies [REVIEW]8