By Christian DiMartino
M. Night Shamylan’s new movie Glass is a bit like his career: it’s all over the place.
Shamylan’s first film, Wide Awake, was a well-intentioned but unfortunately awful faith-based drama. Yet he (nearly) struck Oscar gold with The Sixth Sense, and he was on roll after… until the last half of The Village, which oozed with disappointment, and what followed ranged from bad (Lady in the Water) to worse (The Happening) to the point in which it almost seemed like he was trying to come up with new ways to make horrible movies, and in that sense, he was triumphant (don’t see: After Earth or The Last Airbender, unless you’re feeling suicidal). Yet due to his hits, I always rooted for him, and I thoroughly enjoyed his last two features, The Visit and Split.
Now comes Glass, a curious little movie that serves as a sequel to perhaps his best film (Unbreakable) and his most financially successful, Split. Considering the world building here, and how enjoyable those two movies were, we were in for something spectacular. I mean, all of the cards are in Shamylan’s favor. He’s got his golden boys, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson back, along with yet another tour-de-force performance by James McAvoy. He’s still riding off of the success of Split, not to mention that he has such strong, interesting characters at his disposal.
But when the day is done, Night falls again. This is not his weakest film by a longshot, and there is a decent amount to enjoy here, if you have any affection for the first two. Yet rather than leaving us struck with awe, Shamylan has left me struck with, “That’s it?” It has me “split,” for the lack of a better term.
The film opens three weeks after Split, which so wonderfully teased it was in the Unbreakable universe at the very end. David Dunn (Willis, sporting that “I don’t really want to be here” look again) is still a cloaked figure, beating ass and taking names with the help of his son. He’s even been given a name, but I don’t remember it. Something with a “g.”
He’s able to track down The Horde, aka Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy) in a warehouse with kidnapped cheerleaders. Through a sequence of events that seem… rather easy, the two of them are ultimately locked up in a loony bin. What I find curious about said loony bin is the amount of staff they have, considering they only appear to have three patients (until the climax. THEN I spotted maybe three more).
Those three patients being Dunn, Crumb, and Elijah. Scratch that, the artist formerly known as Elijah, Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), who appears to be catatonic. They are counseled by a Dr. Staple (my girl Sarah Paulson), who specializes in patients who believe they’re superheroes. Great as Paulson is, she has an undeniably thankless role all around, and Anya Taylor-Joy is sweet but not given much to do as Casey, Crumb’s lone survivor.
Where do all of these characters go from here? Good question. I liked Glass until it sunk in with me that, 90 minutes in, nothing had really happened. The film is made with enough skill, and if you enjoy the previous films then you will certainly enjoy some of what Glass has to offer. There is a twist so good in the climax, you kind of wish the movie would stop right there. That is, considering what follows.
After 19 years of developing this trilogy, one would have expected a better send-off than this. This? Really? THIS is how Shamylan decided to wrap up this trilogy? The first 90 minutes alone felt like enough buildup, let alone the first two movies, and this is how Shamylan concludes it? There is a lot of good stuff in Glass, perhaps enough to get by. Yet not enough for me. For all its pleasures, I can’t help but feel like these characters deserve better. Conclusion aside, Dunn and Glass are basically reduced to sideshows without much to do.
At the end of the day, despite the cool stuff, I can’t help but feel like maybe, just maybe, Shamylan shouldn’t have bothered this time. As for you, you’re better off cherishing the memories of the first two films. But hey, that’s just me.
*Note: I realize I have not written a review on here in a while. None of you probably read them anyways. Yet it’s a new year, and it’s a new me… or some crap. For more reviews, follow me on Instagram @movies4life17. See you around.