Though critics and fans widely consider The Sixth Sense to be M. Night Shyalaman’s best movie, I’ve always personally preferred Unbreakable. Released before superhero movies were the norm, Unbreakable was groundbreaking. Rumours of a sequel swirled for years. It only took 15 years before Shyalaman shocked audiences with Split’s surprise reveal – a shared movie universe. Unfortunately, the long-anticipated Glass underwhelmed upon its release. Have critics been unduly harsh? Or is Glass cinematic kryptonite?
Following his escape at the conclusion of Split, Kevin Wendell Crumb has succumbed to ‘The Horde’. Patricia, Dennis, and Hedwig are now in control and serving ‘The Beast’. When ‘The Horde’ abduct several young girls, David Dunn, known in the media as ‘The Overseer’, tracks them down for a confrontation with ‘The Beast’. But their fight is cut short by police and a mysterious Dr. Ellie Staple. David and ‘The Horde’ now find themselves incaracerated in a mental asylum with the catatonic Mr. Glass. As Dr. Staple tries to ‘cure’ the trio of their belief that they are ‘super-powered’, Mr. Glass secretly orchestrates a series of events with the intent to reveal to the world that ‘gifted’ people exist.
Glass Cracks Under Its Own Illogical Plotting
Let’s face it, Shyalaman has a handful of gifts as a filmmaker. As evidenced by The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and The Visit, Shyalaman is a contemporary ‘master of suspense.’ He’s also gifted at crafting some rich mythology in his films. On the other hand, Shyalaman writes some clunky dialogue. He also has a penchant for including some rather large plot holes. Anyone remember the ‘water’ twist in Signs?
…much of the critique surfacing on the Internet feels like nitpicking.
Not surprisingly then, Glass suffers from several gaps in logic. Most of these problems have exhaustively debated on the Internet. For instance, Mr. Glass’ masterpan requires a conveniently large number of coincidences. David Dunn never reacted to water like it was kryptonite in Unbreakable; he was more apt to drown. And why doesn’t ‘The Horde’ just close their eyes when the hypno-light flashes? However, much of the critique surfacing on the Internet feels like nitpicking. Very little dialogue focuses on unnecessary ‘superhero rules’ already very familiar to audiences. But according to the Internet, Glass basically delivers an oral dissertation on the superhero narrative.
Glass May Not Be Super, But It’s Still Fun
Despite its jumbled story-telling and logical inconsistencies, Glass still manages to entertain. Shyalaman is far too talented a filmmaker to entirely fumble the concept. As one might expect, Shyalaman makes the asylum’s corridors and rooms feel foreboding. There’s a bit of inspired diversity to his action shots as well. It serves as a nice reminder to the superhero genre that big CGI isn’t always necessary. Even if it took a convoluted path to get there, the climax has a big feel to it – there’s stakes. Lastly, for all the complaints about Shyalaman’s twists, he does pull out at least one nice trick near the end.
James McAvoy Steals The Show, Multiple Times
In spite of the movie’s title, Glass isn’t really about the titular Mr. Glass. It’s an ensemble film, but one that James McAvoy clearly steals. With new personalities added to ‘The Horde’ along with the major ones seen in Split, McAvoy appears to be having a blast. He gives a fun tour de force performance that energizes the movie whenever he’s on screen. Samuel L. Jackson is also clearly having fun with his role. He adds a certain gravitas to a character that could have easily slid into self-parody. Though he takes a lot of flack for some of his roles, Bruce Willis anchors the movie with a grounded performance. It’s a reminder as to just how good Willis can be when he’s committed.
Anya Taylor-Joy could and should be the new big name in horror.
Everything is padded out with an excellent supporting cast that isn’t given enough to do. Sarah Paulson continues to demonstrate why she needs to be cast more often. Anya Taylor-Joy could and should be the new big name in horror. While she was the lead in Split, Glass regulates Taylor-Joy to a supporting role. But she makes the most of her screen time, shining every time she’s given something meaningful to do.
Glass Flawed, But Still Engaging
Yes, Glass is a deeply flawed movie. As other critics have pointed out, Shyalaman’s long-awaited sequel is plagued by awkward expository dialogue and questionable logic. It’s not the trilogy-capper fans wanted. Still it’s nowhere near as bad as its Rotten Tomatoes score suggests. Shyalaman knows how to build suspense, and there’s too many good ideas in the movie to ignore. With modest expectations, Glass should still entertain and of Unbreakable and Split.