Glass, rated PG-13
Glass is a psychological thriller and the finale of a trilogy from two-time Oscar nominee director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense), who also wrote the screenplay for the film. The film brings together super hero characters introduced in his 2000 film Unbreakable and his 2016 film Split, the latter a surprise success after a few very disappointing films.
In Unbreakable, we met comic book expert Elijah Price/Mr. Glass played by Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction). Elijah was born with a birth defect which left his bones very brittle and susceptible to breaks. As a result, as a child, he was mockingly called Mr. Glass by his peers. David Dunn, played by Golden Globe winner Bruce Willis (Moonlighting), is a security guard at a football stadium in Philadelphia with a troubled marriage and young son. He is the sole survivor of a terrible train crash. In fact, he didn’t even have a scratch on him. Elijah tells Dunn that he has been searching for him, someone who is special, indestructible. The film ends with Price, known as Mr. Glass, admitting to being behind several tragedies, including the train crash. He is put into an institution while Dunn begins to serve the public as a hooded vigilante.
In Split, we met mentally ill Kevin Wendell Crumb, played by Golden Globe nominee James McAvoy (Atonement), a man with 24 different personalities and sole survivor Casey, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who was forced to discover her strengths while being held captive. The film ends with a surprise connection to Unbreakable, setting up the new film.
Nineteen years after the events in Unbreakable, David is running a home security company with his son (his wife has died of leukemia), and still using his supernatural intuition as a vigilante known as the Overseer, tracking down criminals and bringing them to justice. David goes to a warehouse to rescue four cheerleaders who are being held captive by Kevin, known as The Horde. The Overseer battles The Beast, one of Kevin’s personalities, and both are arrested and taken by Dr. Ellie Staple, played by Golden Globe winner Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story), to Raven Hill Memorial Psychiatric Hospital, the same one that Mr. Glass has been at for almost two decades. Now, Elijah is in a near comatose state. Dr. Paulson specializes in the study of people suffering from a superhero complex. She tries to convince all three that they are not special in any way. Casey, who feels compassion for Kevin, agrees to help Dr. Staple. Spencer Treat Clark returns as David’s son Joseph, and Charlayne Woodard returns as Elijah’s mother from Unbreakable.
Like any M. Night Shyamalan film, this one has a twist or two. The film features an outstanding performance from McAvoy as he goes in and out of his multiple personalities. Jackson is good in a smaller role, but Willis surprisingly has a relatively small role. The film makes good use of color, thanks to cinematography from Mike Gioulakis (It Follows), and the music from West Dylan Thordson (Split) is effective. The first half of the film was slow and the film’s ending didn’t live up to expectations for the conclusion of a trilogy.
Themes in the film include good vs. evil, comic books, super powers and believing in yourself. Content concerns include intense violence and some adult language, including an abuse of Jesus’ name.
Despite an outstanding acting performance from McAvoy, Glass is a somewhat disappointing conclusion to M. Night Shyamalan’s trilogy.