Night Shyamalan has had an interesting film career. The man who once said he would be ‘bigger than Spielberg’ has often failed to live up to his own hype, The Last Airbender anyone?
However, the film immediately after his breakthrough of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, had a lot of promise and a great cast in both Bruce Willis (“Death Wish“, “Once Upon A Time In Venice“) and Samuel L. Jackson (“Incredibles 2“, “Avengers: Infinity War“).
It helps, quite a lot, if you’ve seen both previous films before you head into Glass. I imagine it’s perfectly watchable without having done so, but it would speed up your understanding greatly.
What Shyamalan is essentially trying to do is kickstart his own superhero universe. If you’ve seen the TV series Hero’s, you’ve a good idea where the director got the idea from.
Elijah (Jackson) is convinced we could all be superheroes if we could just allow ourselves. He created David (Willis) by engineering a train-wreck, and so was born a man who is virtually indestructible with immense strength.
Kevin Wendall Crumb (McAvoy), and his 20+ personalities, come to Elijah’s attention and he decides to engineer a stand-off between Crumb and David. However, Dr. Ellie Staple, Sarah Paulson (“The Post“, “12 Years A Slave”), disrupts his plans by placing all three men into a mental institution.
There the good doctor embarks on undoing what Elijah has done, attempting to convince each man that they are not, in fact, superheroes. Men with talents, certainly, but not super talents, just very good at what they do.
This begins to work until Elijah, thus far in a vegetative state, awakens and decides to realise his plan of the ultimate superhero showdown. Will he succeed? Will it happen how we think? Can anyone see dead people and, how fast can Samuel L. Jackson type in this movie, are some of the questions that may be answered.
As per Split, it is McAvoy who once again shines. It would be difficult not to given he’s the one provided such rich pickings. He switches between characters at breath-taking speed, almost arguing with himself at times. Each character has their own speech and mannerisms and he rolls through them like it’s perfectly normal.
Jackson takes a bit of a back seat in Glass, despite it being he who is engineering the whole thing, I don’t think he utters a word for the first three-quarters of the movie. Willis meanwhile is the understated hero in all this. It’s a subtle job from the veteran.
Also returning are Anya Taylor-Joy from Split and Spencer Treat Clark from Unbreakable, the latter all grown up but still recognisable.
As per, Shyamalan continues to put himself in his movies, this time giving himself a good few minutes of screen time. An actor he is not, but hey, if you can and the studio let you, I guess why not?
He adopts some interesting camera technics, a smattering of PoV-style cameras and literally turning things on their head at times. He also plays around with colours, but it is better if you see that for yourself.
Overall, Glass is a decent enough conclusion to this ‘franchise’. Obviously, it leaves itself wide-open for much, much more and this is its downfall; Shyamalan tries to do too much during the movie, cram too much in (apparently the original cut ran over three-hours!) and introduce some new shady organisation, the latter of which feels a touch ‘tacked on’, in order to wind the whole thing up.