- Written and Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
- January 12, 2019 (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) / January 18, 2019 (US)
David Dunn confronts The Horde as a conspiracy lingers in the shadows.
Glass is the final film in the Unbreakable trilogy and what a finale it is! Unbreakable, Split, and Glass are probably some of the best superhero comic book movies ever made. They are among the most original and just complex with a unique take on the genre. Much like the cult classic Darkman it is unique spin of a heavily done type of story.
The first is this film like its predecessors gives the heroes superpowers-but with limits. These are not gods among men, but you could almost view them as the next step in humanity. Rather than focus on super heroics, the story focuses on the mechanizations of not only Mr. Glass but also the psychologist tasked with treating the group.
A lot of the story takes place in Raven Hill Memorial, a psychiatric hospital, where David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), and Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) find themselves being cared for by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who is a psychiatrist that specializes in individuals with delusions of grandeur.
We have stock concepts, but ones done in a more grounded way. David Dunn is strong super strong. Mr. Glass is smart and a gifted planner. The Horde is a cult with a superpowered leader. This is a comic book oriented movie and you need to ask what is Dr. Staple’s part in all this. Hers is that of the agent of a secret society.
Mr. Glass comes back with a bang. His goal is to still prove his belief and give his life meaning. Somehow through writing and Samuel L Jackson’s performance, Glass by the end of the film is a little sympathetic. Not entirely sympathetic since he has set up situations where a lot of people have died but you can find yourself feeling a little sorry for him.
The villain is as important as the hero. You need the right actor to pull the character off. James McAvoy’s performance once again is amazing. He seamlessly transfers from one character to another and makes each so very different. A prime example of his skill is when they use the strobe light on him and how he changes from personality to personality. He is alternately frightening and charming, intelligent and foolish.
Nobody plays old and tired like Bruce Willis. That’s not a cut. David Dunn at this point in his life embraces his duty but comes off as a bit tired. One can almost believe that he sees the doubt being sewn in his mind as an escape to normalcy.
One thing I didn’t quite notice on my first viewing, but I did on my second is that Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), the sole survivor of The Beast in Split, has a superpower too. Think about it. I haven’t read up on if this has been confirmed by M. Night Shyamalan, but she has an ability via empathy to reach into Kevin Wendell Crumb and pull forth the personality she wishes to speak to via a combination of physical contact and her empathy. Seriously. Watch it and see if you come away thinking the same thing.
Glass uses comic book elements throughout. Primary colors. The hero has a sidekick in this case similar to Oracle which is his son. The intellectual villain teams up with brutal muscle in order to accomplish his ultimate plan. Characters even have a costume in which they fight. David has his green poncho. Mr. Glass has a rather cool purple suit with a stick pin with MG in gold letters. The Beast’s shirtless appearance is akin to the strongmen of old that are discussed in the movie.
If there is any theme going through this it is don’t give in to self-doubt when you know the truth. Believe in yourself. Mr. Glass believes in himself. David has to overcome his doubt to defeat The Beast. Others will try to tear you down and perhaps hold you back from greatness much like the secret society does here.
Doubt and faith pay a big play a big part in the story. Dr. Staple works hard to make David and even The Horde doubt the veracity of what they believe. She puts forth possible explanations that even the viewer could buy into. The viewer at points is left asking if they are seeing things as they occur or through a particular character’s eyes.
As was stated in Unbreakable, comic books and myths are the repackaging and regurgitation of the truth in an exaggerated sense. Based on this one could even surmise they are part of the conspiracy that the psychiatrist perpetuates. She is to keep people from believing in what they truly are. The group Dr. Staple is a part of has worked for centuries to make people with extraordinary abilities believe they are rather ordinary or just simply hide them from others.
If you see this movie once he will not necessarily pick up on it until the ending but when you see it a second time you will certainly see how clues to Glass’s plan are carefully laid out. Nothing is shoved in your face but rather simply placed in the story and pulled together at the end in a moment that will leave you amazed and impressed.
M. Night Shyamalan can craft the weird and unusual. Some of his work is better than others but he always entertains. This is no different. This takes the superhero concepts and applies them to the real world in a story focusing more on the characters than it does on cool stuff they can do. What occurs here affects the world of the characters. You don’t need a superhero story with the world or the universe at stake. You just need a story where the ramifications of loss for those involved are significant and that is what we get here.
Glass is a fantastic entry in the superhero genre as well as being an amazing film in and of itself. With Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson and James McAvoy once again blowing it out of the water as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde this movie is just one of the best. This is a must see!