Director M. Night Shyamalan merges the two narratives of his standout thrillers ‘Unbreakable’ (2000) and ‘Split’ (2016) to present one final comic book showdown with the movie ‘Glass’ which premiered in theaters on Fri., Jan. 18. With talented actors such as Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, and Sarah Paulson, I went into the movie with high expectations. Despite watching the two previous movies, I left the theater confused and disappointed.
In the film, original ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Split’ characters Elijah Price/Mr.Glass (Jackson), David Dunn/The Overseer (Willis) and Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde (McAvoy) are all locked in a mental hospital under the regulation of psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Paulson). Throughout the movie, Paulson’s character attempts to convince the trio that they do not possess superhuman abilities, but rather it was all made up in their heads due to the unique trauma they all faced as young children. As the film unravels, so does Mr.Glass’s mastermind plan to escape and show the world who they really are.
The concept of ‘Glass’ was actually quite entertaining — the final product, however, was not. As someone who has watched the two previous films, I found Shyamalan’s way of bringing his characters together interesting. Still, the film was excruciatingly slow and the plot was confusing. I often found myself wondering, “What am I supposed to be watching?” In the whole 2 hours and 9 minutes of the movie, the only moment of intrigue was in the last half hour — which also seemed to drag and never end. There were several scenes where I thought, “okay that’s a great ending,” but then the film carried on as if Shyamalan just couldn’t let go of his superheroes.
Although the plot was unremarkable, the performance by the actors, specifically James McAvoy, was impressive. Carrying on the narrative from Split, more of Kevin Wendell Crumb’s 23 personalities make an appearance, all of which are extremely unique and entertaining to watch. In particular, each time 9-year-old personality Hedwig would ‘hold the light’ the audience was sure to laugh and appreciate his innocent jokes and spunky behavior.
Samuel L. Jackson also provided a great performance as he demonstrated what’s going on inside the head of a superhero mastermind, including the motives behind all his schemes in the very end. Even Sarah Paulson can be applauded for her character development. Bruce Willis, however, was the least interesting to watch as his character is rather dull for a superhero and there was no clear distinction between his ‘ordinary security appliance store owner’ and the ‘overseer’ other than wearing an over-sized black poncho.
I also appreciate the cinematography of the film, by Mike Gioulakis, as most of the shots were clever and attractive. Even though the majority of the film is restricted to the inside of a mental facility, both Shyamalan and Gioulakis effectively work together to carefully compose each frame. Alas, Shyamalan’s impressive work outside of being a screenwriter is not enough to ignore his messiness in throwing together this plot. The majority of the film was unnecessarily slow and anticlimactic, and the ending was somehow rushed and dragged out at the same time.
After watching ‘Glass’ and comparing it to its two predecessors, I can see why Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 37% and an average viewer rating of 5/10. The film had the potential of being a great conclusion to the trilogy, but it was actually less intriguing and exciting than the other two originals. I appreciate Shyamalan’s dream and vision, but his excitement did more harm than good to this film. Overall, I would rate ‘Glass’ a 6/10.