After seeing much of the feedback on “Glass,” I think it’s fair to say it subverted expectations.
Sorry, I’ll see myself out… After writing my own review of course.
“Glass” is the third film in the trilogy that started in 2000 with “Unbreakable” and continued in 2016 with “Split.” Relatively early in the film, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who began crime-fighting as the The Overseer after the events of “Unbreakable,” is trying to put an end to the crimes of Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy), a man with multiple personalities who became known as the Horde in “Split.”
After a confrontation between the two where a fight breaks out, both David and Kevin are arrested and sent to a mental health hospital. As it turns out, it’s the same hospital where Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is being held. In “Unbreakable,” David had Elijah arrested for acts of terrorism. While there, all three men meet Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who’s trying to break the trio’s idea that they’re superhuman and living in a world more akin to a comic book.
“Glass” is a very much a conflicting movie to review. Shyamalan’s track record has certainly had its highs and very lows, but when he has a vision, he’s usually able to bring it to life in intriguing fashion. In “Glass,” there’s certainly a sense of what Shyamalan wanted to say with his movie, as it features commentary on comic book culture and storytelling in general.
However, at the same time, “Glass” is very much a messy product when it comes to the narrative structure, and even Shyamalan’s attempted commentary comes across as far too heavy-handed rather than clever and subtle.
Regarding the former, “Glass” feels terribly rushed. There’s a lot of things going on here, from David actually becoming a crime-fighter to what Elijah is planning. However, in the movie, all of the events supposedly take place over only three days, meaning a lot of what happens feels very crammed in.
There’s often not enough time for some of the scenes featuring character interactions to really be absorbed. It’s also noticeable that there’s a disappointing lack of interactions between David and Elijah.
Another issue with the storytelling is a subplot involving three characters who all had ties to the main trio: David’s son Joseph (Spencer Clark), one of Kevin’s victims who survived named Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Elijah’s mother (Charlayne Woodard). Some of the directions these characters go seem rather odd and their involvement in the finale just doesn’t work.
Then, of course, Shyamalan does his longtime trick of inserting a twist, actually a couple in this case, at the end of the film. These final reveals really sink the picture. It seemed like Shyamalan wanted the movie’s final curveball to be another clever piece of commentary, yet it comes across more like a lazy way to wrap up things up.
As far as the acting goes, like in “Split,” McAvoy brings his A-game. The multiple personalities are all quite different, all coming with their own mannerisms, and McAvoy pulls it off nicely. Jackson is also fairly good here, bringing a good balance of idealism and a menacing nature to the character.
However, Willis was unfortunately rather forgettable here. There are moments where the performance just feels phoned in. One scene in particular is during the finale where he’s trying to protect a few police officers and the line delivery is so unconvincing.
The writing is more miss than hit, too. The characters are written to take some bizarre, nonsensical paths while the dialogue never seems as smart as Shyamalan probably thinks it is.
As previously stated, Shyamalan has been around the block with movies and he knows how to direct. While the movie only has a budget of roughly $20 million, the look overall is fine. Plus there are a couple good performances and the picture offers some entertainment value.
Yet the movie’s story remains rushed, the characters weren’t handled all too well and the script has its share of weaknesses. 2.0 out of 5.