Even Shattered Glass Still Has Interesting Pieces

Picking up 3 months after the ending of Split, Glass aims to be a different type of superhero film. I won’t lie, this is a hard film to review. At times, the tones of the two films that precede it; (Unbreakable & Split) clash together awkwardly and other times fit together perfectly like pieces of the larger puzzle it was meant to be a part of. M Night Shyamalan largely succeeds in the delivery of his unique take on a superhero movie. At times the budget restraints are made extremely noticeable by the restricted set piece of a mental institution. Where most modern superhero movies build to a huge set piece for the final battle, Glass throws a huge misdirect right before heading to what you would think would be the final battle ground for its lead characters. But how do the storied of David Dunn, The Beast and Dr. Staple lead us here?

Dr. Ellie Staple

Speaking of misdirects, the biggest plot point of Glass is the character of Dr. Ellie Staple played by Sarah Paulson. Dr. Staple is introduced as a psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur, who treats patients convinced that they are superhuman beings. However, she turns out to be a member of a secret organization dedicated to keeping the public from finding out about people with superhuman powers. Staple’s goal during the second act of the film is to convince David Dunn and The Beast that they do not actually have superpowers but instead suffer from trauma that they have coped with by thinking the only way they were able to survive is due to their special abilities. In my opinion this is where Glass is at its best. Not only are the characters themselves nearly convinced but so is the audience. M Night nearly perfectly paces this part of the movie, right when the characters are ready to give in that they may just be crazy, the title character Elijah Price / Mr. Glass makes himself known and changes the course.

They Call Him Mr. Glass...

Played by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson (and would you believe this is the first time he’s been the title character in a movie?). While it takes a long time before we even see him fully in Glass, he makes his presence felt very quickly. Mr. Glass is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers. As soon as the pieces of David Dunn and The Beast are brought to the mental institution his plan is set in motion. What seems like a straightforward plan to escape and pit the hero and villain against each other so the world can see what they’re capable of takes quite a turn that plays into the big twist of the film (more on that later). Jackson is really great in this role and while I have issues with how he’s used in the end, it makes sense for how the character was set up in Unbreakable. It only took one scene to show that Mr. Glass is a mastermind as he fools everyone into playing a game that he’s been planning for the last 18 years since his defeat in Unbreakable.

One Beastly Performance

Kevin Wendell Crumb/ The Beast is a character that I honestly believe is unlike any other ever portrayed in film. Villains often fall into one of a few archetypes that have existed for centuries. What makes The Beast different is the acting by James McAvoy. We’ve seen actors play different characters in the same movie before but Split was the first time we’ve seen an actor play different characters in the same scene. Glass builds on that even more in its scenes that have McAvoy switch between 3-4 characters mid sentence. In Glass, we get to see more of the 24 different personalities that Kevin has due to his dissociative identity disorder. Each character has its own mannerisms and tone. If you need one reason to see this movie, McAvoy is definitely it. The fight scenes between The Beast and David Dunn are pretty straight forward brawls and crushed my hopes of seeing an epic battle in the movie. If I had one major gripe about Glass, besides the ending, the fight scenes would definitely be it!

The Overseer

David Dunn’s showing up in the last scene of Split set that movie in the same universe as the 2000 film Unbreakable. Fans of that film hoped that a sequel would be made and with his appearance, it made Split the origin story for villain to face the hero we hoped would return. In the first few scenes of Glass is made it clear Dunn had been operating in the shadows as hero for the last 18 years. Watching him hunt down The Beast with his son felt great and made sense for where we left off with the characters. I wish I had that feeling throughout the rest of the film but sadly I did not. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very powerful moments with this character and Bruce Willis, who has been known to phone in a role or two, acts them out very well. But the ending just felt like a waste for a character fans have waited so long to see again. It makes no sense to me that Shyamalan would write this ending for a character he created.

M. Night Shyamalan

That brings us to my biggest problem with Glass it’s ending. That big ending fight that was teased at the start of the third act ended being our hero and villain throwing less punches at each other and more ad random swat team members. But oh how I wish this was the biggest issue. David Dunn end up getting drowned by a random member of a secret society that wasn't teased in any of these films except for the last 10 minutes of Glass. Dunn, The Beast and Mr. Glass are all killed in the final scenes of the movie. While the other two characters are given a chance to really shine in their death scenes it’s the hero that gets no dialog or final words just a look as if he himself was disappointed at how his story ends.

In the end I like far more of this movie than I dislike but it’s a perfect example of how no sticking the landing can ruin the whole experience. Director M Night Shyamalan has a lot good but ultimately falls victim to the same thing most of his films have with weak endings.

This was review written by CEOHaize. Be sure to listen to The Film Frequency podcast to hear more movie discussions.

Follow me: Twitter @CEOHaize IG: @TheKingHaize

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