Film Review: Glass (2019)

‘While the negatives may outweigh the positives, it still gets a decent grade as it is still a pretty enjoyable film’

Glass, 2019

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

Written by: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L. Jackson

 

The third part of this unexpected trilogy, Glass picks up a few weeks after the culmination of Split and brings Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy, Split), a DID sufferer with over 20 personalities including The Beast, David Dunn (Bruce Willis, Unbreakable), a man with super strength and a heightened sense of character, and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson, Unbreakable), a man with extremely brittle bones but an extremely high IQ, together at a mental institution where Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) tries to convince them that their super-human abilities are all in their head.

Much like with Unbreakable, Glass takes a rather unique take on the superhero genre in confining them to a mental institution and rationalising their abilities and ignoring the tried-and-tested formula of huge CGI fights and costumes, and it was quite refreshing to see. However, it was the weakest of its trilogy, and, unfortunately, the hype and excitement going in wasn’t met.

The first major issue I had was with the three sidekicks. Each of the three main characters had a friend/family member who supported them: David had his son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), Kevin had Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, Split) and Elijah had his mother, Mrs. Price (Charlayne Woodard). This is fine (most superheroes or villains have sidekicks), but it made no sense. Two-three weeks prior to Kevin being caught and institutionalised he murdered and ate two of Casey’s classmates, after kidnapping and entrapping them for a period of time. Even if she didn’t like them, that’s not the sort of character you want to associate with. And as for Mrs. Price, her son is a mass murderer. He’s blown up trains and countless other projects no doubt but she still loves him (surely a mother’s love would be tested if her son was a terrorist murdering people without a care). It felt like they had to be there for the purpose of the film without ever explaining why they were there.

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Certain parts of the film really dragged, too, especially with Dr. Staple’s explanation of why they weren’t superheroes. She explained, at no great speed, that Kevin survived because of faulty bars (that were easily moveable), a faulty gun (thus surviving being shot) and videos on climbing (thus The Beast’s ability to scale walls), then she goes on to dissect David’s beliefs being wrong and then Elijah’s. She also does a similar thing to Joseph as he pleads his father’s innocence. These little things, along with the lack of a true major fight between David and The Beast (which had been teased throughout the film) left a slightly bitter taste in the mouth afterwards.

While the negatives may outweigh the positives, it still gets a decent grade as it is still a pretty enjoyable film. As noted, the changing of the genre is refreshing considering the amount of films released by Marvel or DC which follow a very samey-samey formula. The acting is very solid (which is to be expected considering the cast), and, for the most part, it looks visually appealing (if you excuse how over-the-top Shyamalan’s directing is). There are a lot more of Kevin’s personalities which come to the surface (and I’d love to see exactly how many are shown between Split and Glass because a lot get revealed here), which was a slight improvement from Split where we largely only saw a few personalities despite being told that a lot existed within himself.

I also appreciated Elijah’s arc throughout (he’s largely silent at the start before his genius begins to show), given that he’s the titular Mr. Glass. I found it strange where he proclaimed that this story was an ‘origin story’ despite being part three of a trilogy, but it worked with his character and motivations, which we find out later on.

There are also a few twists at the end (it is an M. Night Shyamalan film, after all) but they’re not very good, clever or worthwhile. They don’t benefit it too much and just come across as forced rather than an intriguing change of perspective (like the twist with Bruce Willis’ character in The Sixth Sense). A perfectly fine film, but, unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the pre-film hype that came from Split‘s ending

 

Personal: * * *     Acting: * * *     Writing: * * *     Presentation: * * *

Overall Rating: * * *

 

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