The film world was shocked when it turned out that Split was in fact the long awaited sequel to Unbreakable as a post credit scene revealed Bruce Willis’ David Dunn. Shortly after M. Night Shyamalan announced a third film to tie these two together, Glass. That is when the hype train started rolling. People were billing this as a showdown between David Dunn and two supervillains.
But be careful of expectations going into an M. Night Shyamalan film, because Glass isn’t really that. It’s a film that doesn’t really have any good frames of reference, instead it is one that you have to go along for the ride. The story will do things that shock you and that you disagree with, but they often pay off in great ways. At the end of the day you’ll see where the film winds up, and that will determine whether you’re on board with Glass or not. I won’t spoil where it goes, but it is a divisive end, and certainly not the one you’ll expect going in.
Thankfully the ride to that ending is anchored by some incredible performances, particularly James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the horde of personalities that live within him. McAvoy seamlessly slips between the characters, imbuing them all with distinct personalities. It is a showy performance, but one that has subtlety in many of the characters. He is every bit as good as he was in Split and that is saying something. Meanwhile Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson give great performances alongside him, Willis one of the best he’s given in years. Joining the cast is Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple, a psychiatrist who is attempting to treat these three for their beliefs that they are super powered people.
And we see in Glass a lot of the reasons why M. Night Shyamalan was so highly rated as a director until he began making some terrible films (I’m looking at you Lady In The Water and The Last Airbender). There’s plenty of stylistic flair to the film, and it looks absolutely stunning. He shoots the action scene in a really interesting way, but one that absolutely works. Now he’s never been known as a subtle director, and that doesn’t change here, he may go a little on the nose with a lot of his more meta commentary on the genre, but it absolutely works with what Shyamalan is doing.
If you’re a fan of Unbreakable then Glass will be your kind of superhero film. This is a film that you need to just go along with and see if you like the outcome. Personally I loved the finale of Glass but I can see why it would underwhelm some people given what the hype about it was surrounding.