“Glass” is M. Night Shyamalan's newest film that connects prior entries “Unbreakable” and “Split” together through super-hero lore. It’s entertaining with fantastic fight scenes and multiple twists, yet the film struggles to connect all the plot points and characters, as well as maintain our attention throughout lackluster dialogue scenes.
Bruce Willis returns as the “unbreakable” David Dunn with otherworldly strength, along with Samuel L. Jackson’s villain Mr. Glass, who has brittle bone disease and extensive hacking skills. “Split’s” contribution is James McAvoy as Kevin Crumb and his multiple identities. Several supporting characters from both films also make their way into “Glass”, along with newcomer Sarah Paulson as the well meaning Dr. Ellie Staple.
The film begins with David Dunn’s hunt for the Beast (a.k.a. Kevin Crumb and his multiple identities) to stop him from murdering innocent youth. This results in the capture of David Dunn and the Beast by authorities and their transport to a psychiatric institution in order to be studied by psychologist Dr. Ellie Staple. Mr. Glass already resides at this institution and from then on the film transitions to further exploration of super-hero lore and the psychies of all three characters.
Shyamalan has had a tumultuous film career. “The Sixth Sense” was his first hit and “Unbreakable” soon followed with box office and critical acclaim. But little did Shyamalan know, his name would soon be a running joke starting with the appalling misfire “The Happening” to the terrible “After Earth.” “Split” was seen as Shyamalan's comeback and the introduction of a finale to both “Unbreakable” and “Split” roused critical buzz amongst moviegoers and Shyamalan fans.
So far, the reviews for “Glass,” have been middeling, with a current 36% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is unsurprising.
The notion of unrelated hit films being joined together for a franchise is a known concept, despite its lack of success. Similar to how profitable films often produce sequels despite lack of necessity, major studios often create franchises out of unrelated films to appeal to their fan bases. “Cloverfield” and “10 Cloverfield Lane,” for example, is a brilliant case of science fiction wonder revolving around entirely different subject matters despite their titles — until the concepts were ruined by the disappointing “Cloverfield Paradox.”
While “Glass” has moments of wit due to Shyamalan’s writing and the skill of the actors, the majority of the film is bogged down by monotonous lore and predictable cinematography. One of the aspects that made “Unbreakable” so appealing was it’s visual direction, such as the usage of a long take that panned between train seats. Most of “Glass” takes place in conversation — which is unusual for a science fiction/action film — and reiterates facts about the characters that the audience has already learned from the previous movies.
As a result, “Glass” is only a film for die-hard Shyamalan fans. The film is tedious, overlong and fails to take advantage of Hedwig's hilarious cadence of “etcetera.” Let’s hope Shyamalan invents better material and won’t subject us to a quintet.