Having high expectations for a M. Night Shyamalan that he wrote and directed may seem pretty ridiculous considering his track record of films ranging from great to all-time worst, but the news about his latest new thriller, Glass, made me and others convinced that this might be something special since this is a follow-up to not only 2000’s Unbreakable, but the 2017 surprise hit Split. So, does this have a chance to break high hopes?
What’s the Story: David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) and Elijah Price/ Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) are put inside physiatric ward and must contend with a psychiatrist, Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who out to prove they don’t have any superpowers and just think it’s all in their minds.
Yes, this is the third film in a trilogy that completely came out of nowhere after. Fans of the director should easily be hyped up about Glass since it’s been 19 years in the making for a sequel to finally come out. The fact that we’re we getting a movie featuring these three recognizable characters in one narrative is kind of a dream come true. Glass was secretly a movie that I was anticipating at the beginning of the year. And it just shows that being excited about a Shyamalan was too good to be true. It’s just like a, “Yeah, okay” type of reaction when it ended.
If you’re going into this knowing that McAvoy is gonna be great, then that’s your price of admission. McAvoy completely stole every scene he’s in and is, hands-down, the best thing the movie goes for. He has shown what he can do with Split, and he does it again showcasing the different personalities inside his head (Hedwig, Mr. Patricia, The Horde) to a shocking degree. Willis doesn’t phone his performance in this like his most recent movies. And once Jackson gets the opportunity, he does a fine job.
I was invested with what was going on during the first half as almost everything was set up. It wasn’t until it ended that where it doesn’t feel all that connected. After that, Glass’s pace just starts to meander and Shyamalan’s storytelling left more to be wanting. I wanted to see more of this world that decided to be connected after the ending of Split, and it just didn’t click for its two hours. There was more action than I expected, and the first action scene was really the standout outside the rest.
The way Shyamalan acted out this was that the first half felt like it was focusing on David, the second act on Kevin, and then the final act on Elijah. Which made me think that Willis didn’t have a ton to do later on when it wants to gain more attention to Mr. Glass and Kevin. It also bothers me that even though it’s called “Glass”, he doesn’t even show up midway to the first hour. Even with his directing choices, like the up-close shots, weren’t working even though the rest of the film had a decent sense of direction.
I’m starting to think Shyamalan always likes to explain a lot of stuff in each of his movies, and it shows. Paulson’s character only has one job in this entire movie: talk in exposition to not only to other people but to the audience. I instantly thought about that after it was over. Then there’s the return of Anya Taylor-Joy and Spencer Treat Clark reprising their roles as Casey Cooke and Joseph Dunn, and even I felt like they were there to move the plot along.
But there were some moments in Glass that had some purpose. For instance, they installed flashing light that triggers a new personality for Kevin, to a flashback in which we see a young Elijah on a carnival ride that caused him to be seriously injured. What does that leave David? Honestly, nothing since it didn’t feel like he had a lot to do.
Not gonna go deep into what kind of Shyamalan twist has up his sleeves, but upon marinating it and actually looking up what everything means, it’s ultimately unsatisfying to no degree with how the third act was treated. It was because of this that already made the movie unmemorable.
Somewhere in my mind, I was really wanting Glass to be great and just imagine how this third entry would be like. As I was watching every unfold, I’m still trying to wrap my head on how this didn’t work. I didn’t want this to feel like a superhero movie and it did feel like the appropriate predecessor to either Unbreakable and Split. It’s a good chance that this will be one of the more divisive movies to come out so far this year. For me, Glass stayed on a steady path that leads to nowhere exciting. Had glimpses of potential to what could’ve been a solid Shyamalan film, but it, unfortunately, leaves no impact to the close of an unexpected trilogy that ends up being underwhelming.