After huge success with his first few films writer / director M Night Shyamalan took a dive with the Lady in the Water, The Happening and The Last Airbender. So any new film from him can be seen anticipated as either a glass half full or half empty which brings us to his latest, Glass, the final part of a trilogy no one saw coming that started with the fantastic Unbreakable back in 2000 and he followed up with Split in 2016 which gave us one of his gut punch endings that demanded a final film to tie them all together.
So Unbreakable’s David Dunn (Bruce Willis) has found his unknown superpowers courtesy of the malevolent Mr Glass is now owner of a security alarm business with his son but at night goes out righting wrongs at a very low level. At the same time James McAvoy’s Kevin is still suffering from his massive multiple personality disorder aka The Horde with The Beast being foremost leader of the pack and the most dangerous having kidnapped college girls before bringing them to a grisly end. So its Dunn who goes looking for him and it ends with them both being banged up in a mental institution which coincidentally also has the fragile limbed and suitably monikered Mr Glass (Samuel L Jackson) in residence.
It’s Jackson who orchestrates the proceedings despite psychologist Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) doing her best to counsel them from what she perceives as being their delusions about their own abilities. Now this being a M Night Shyamalan film there are the usual trademarks with the film set in his beloved Philadelphia and his cameo and there’s the query as to whether there will be the twist in the tale. What he has got though is three major stars except this is really McAvoy’s film segueing effortlessly from one character to the next sometimes in a sentence and it’s a bit of an acting masterclass which puts Willis firmly in the shade. Willis really has very little to do here partially phoning in his performance and even the action sense where he wears his oversized waterproof cape that hides the stuntman standing in to do his action scenes. Jackson on the other hand is largely silent for the first half of the film but comes into his own again as the manipulator of his own master plan determined to prove that superheroes are real.
Shyamalan’s script does attempt to deconstruct the superhero as a real life film but keeps the comic book template as something of an origin story too and even includes a throwaway line about giving away the ending for which his films became famous. Thankfully though we don’t have the bombast of so many of the superhero films where inevitably everything is thrown into the mix as the world or universe is saved again and again. Shyamalan having suffered a few high profile high budget flops has been savvy enough to scale his budgets right down and this benefits from being small and low key. What’s missing here as seen in the very best of his films are those carefully framed shots that tell a story or the deliberate pacing with startling reveals and plot points or the brilliantly realized moments of tension and scares. However by the end Glass does become over earnest and takes itself a bit too seriously and, in keeping with many trilogy’s, it’s the weakest of the three
Here’s the trailer for Glass……..