In Theatres: 
Jan 18, 2019
Running Time: 
129 minutes

The superhero genre was vastly different when Unbreakable came out back in 2000.  The first X-Men film had just come months before, and there was Batman, Superman, and a handful of other individual heroes on the big screen, but it was nothing like the connected universes we see today. M. Night Shyamalan did something different with his film, delivering a more grounded story revolving around a normal person with superhuman strengths yet it still followed many of the conventional comic book tropes. Then came Split in 2016, Shyamalan’s best film in over a decade, which turned out to be not just a horror film but a standalone sequel to Unbreakable thanks to a cameo by David Dunn (Bruce Willis) at the end. Now, after nearly 19 years since Shyamalan first introduced us to his own world of superheroes, the final chapter of the “Eastrail 177 Trilogy” arrives with Glass. While the film gets off to a decent enough start, its story begins to buckle and ultimately shatter under they hype Shyamalan himself has created.


It’s been 19 years since the events of Unbreakable and by day David Dunn (Bruce Willis) runs a store selling home security systems, but by night he patrols the city as a vigilante thwarting criminals with the help of his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark). Citizens have dubbed him “The Overseer.” While out on patrol, David bumps into Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) and sees that he’s kidnapped a bunch of girls and plans to sacrifice them to the Beast. The two fight, but before either one of them can gain the upperhand they are captured by the police and placed within a mental institution led by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), the same institution where Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is being held. Dr. Staple does her best to convince all three that they suffer from the same affliction of delusions of grandeur, but Mr. Glass knows in his heart that they’re all extraordinary and will do whatever it takes to show the world that superheroes are real.


Split succeed because it was a horror story first and a lowkey Unbreakable sequel second. Glass is not just an advertised sequel but also the final chapter of the trilogy so there is absolutely more hype surrounding the film and pressure for Shyamalan to deliver. The film starts off well enough, going into detail showing how David has finally embraced his superhero persona but whereas the previous films were either subtle in their comic book references or served the overall progression of the story, Glass is very transparent with its tropes and practically shoves a comic book in your face telling you to look at the similarities.


Glass is a prime example of a film that fails the “show, don’t tell” methodology. Everything is explained by the characters to one another, whether it’s Dr. Staple explaining why the three of them are being held to Mr. Glass constantly telling everyone how their lives are related to comic books. It gets to the point of being laughable. When David is about to face off against the Beast I don’t need Mr. Glass to tell me that the third act of a comic is the big fight between good versus evil. I can see the connections there myself, thank you very much. Glass holds the audiences’ hand throughout the entire film, over-explaining every little detail.


Despite the underwhelming story, James McAvoy as ‘the Horde’ is an absolute pleasure to watch. His ability to shift between all the different personalities at a moment’s notice is a Master Class in acting. Every one of his personas is vastly different and unique in their interactions with the other characters. Split introduced us to many of them, but with Glass we get to see them all on full display. It’s exciting to watch whenever McAvoy is ever on screen.


Unfortunately McAvoy’s performance isn’t enough to save Glass. The film gets too wrapped up in its own mythology and the multiple twists that are revealed towards the end don’t add much to its legacy. While its characters might be extraordinary, Glass remains nothing out of the ordinary.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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