Following his unexpected return to form with psychological thriller (and secret Unbreakable sequel) Split, M. Night Shyamalan brings us the final entry in his Unbreakable trilogy… Glass. Does this final entry continue the strong track record of Shyamalan’s superhero/villain origin stories or does it shatter under the weight of expectation?
Glass picks up only a matter of weeks after the events of Split with David Dunn/The Overseer (Bruce Willis) patrolling the streets of Philadelphia for signs of Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde (James McAvoy).
In the years since Unbreakable, David has set up his own security firm alongside his son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), as a front for his vigilante activities. It doesn’t take long for David to find The Horde but their confrontation is cut short when the authorities show up and haul them both off to a secure mental facility under the care of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). Dr. Staple has a particular interest in both David and Kevin as she has developed a theory on delusions of grandeur from her observations of existing patient Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson).
From here the pace of Glass slows and we spend the majority of its 2 hour plus runtime within the walls of this facility. Dr. Staple tries to convince our protagonists/antagonists that their abilities are a figment of their imagination brought on by trauma’s early in their lives.
While it is a little frustrating we don’t get to see our heroes/villains flex their respective muscles more, this approach allows us to see more of McAvoy’s phenomenal portrayal of Kevin’s various alters. The way he is able to display a change in character just from his body language is very impressive, with one particular sequence where he tests the confines of his cell particularly entertaining.
We also get the chance to learn a little more about Elijah’s life since the events of Unbreakable, the blind devotion his mother (Charlayne Woodard) show’s to her troubled son is heartbreaking at times. There is also the chance for us to catch up with Split’s protagonist Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) who, despite her now much happier life, still demonstrates a level of sympathy for Kevin’s more sympathetic alters.
As each character’s motivations become clearer, we eventually shift towards the films endgame and the inevitable rematch of The Beast vs The Overseer. Considering the lengthy buildup towards this final confrontation, it has to be said it is a little underwhelming. However, if you consider that these films aren’t your typical superhero fare it isn’t all that surprising, and this expectation for a big climax to the film is likely a by-product of the saturated world of blockbuster superhero epics we now live in.
There is of course the standard M. Night Shyamalan twist to fit in (in fact there are several here) and for the most part these payoff by the films climax. Speaking of the climax, the conclusion of the film may not be to everyone’s taste with an attempt to leave things open a little, but this is common from a Shyamalan film.
Overall, Glass delivers some strong performances from it’s cast which should keep you entertained enough throughout. You may wish things were a little more “super” at times but, although it’s a stereotypical representation of DID, I would recommend going to see it just for McAvoys portrayal of The Horde.
By Mark Jankowski