19 years after the release of Unbreakable, we have been given Glass, the finale to one of the most unlikely trilogies in cinema. So, what did I think of M Night Shyamalan’s latest effort? Personally, I didn’t think it was anywhere near as bad as some of the other reviews have suggested, although I do firmly believe that this film will prove to be extremely polarising. Beware, mild spoilers follow!
Set three weeks after Split, James McAvoy’s The Horde are still in hiding after the events of the film, meanwhile, Bruce Willis’ David Dunn (from Unbreakable) is patrolling the streets as “The Overseer”, looking to find and stop The Horde once and for all. After a tense and thrilling opening act, both characters find themselves in a mental institution, where Dunn is finally reunited with his nemesis, Elijah Price, or as he likes to be known, Mr Glass. (Samuel L Jackson).
It is here where the film then turns into quite a slow-burner, the trailers may deceive casual audiences expecting an action-packed superhero flick, this is the complete opposite. Instead, Glass is an interesting look at the human psyche and the film makes the characters and the audience question the legitimacy of these people through psychiatrist Ellie Staple, (Sarah Poulson) tasked with convincing these men that they are, in fact, just incredibly ill and not superhuman at all. Without delving too far into spoiler territory, there are particular moments that land extremely well and you will find yourself unwillingly questioning whether or not these characters are superhuman at all, Shyamalan has taken great care exploring this theme and it is executed brilliantly.
Performance wise, James McAvoy is worth the price of a ticket alone, as he continues to excel as The Horde and the multiple personalities that it brings. We are given far more than we were in Split, despite the fact some of these characters are fleeting, the way McAvoy seamlessly transitions from character to character is sublime and in my opinion, he deserves award recognition for his performance, it’s some of the best acting I’ve seen in a long time, and the fact that he can make ridiculous moments both comical and unsettling is fantastic. I often found myself laughing at certain moments involving The Horde, but at the same time, I was creeped out. Much like Split, McAvoy is the star of the show.
Samuel L Jackson and Bruce Willis also deliver great performances, however, it is fair to say that it takes a while for Mr Glass to get into full swing, (as you’ll see) thankfully it is worth the wait and Jackson slips back into the role with ease, you wouldn’t have thought it’s been 19 years since we last saw this character on our screens. As for David Dunn, well, he doesn’t have much screentime at all, to be honest, it’s one of the let-downs in this film, he is very much resigned to a side character who actually does very little in terms of accelerating the plot. He is noticeably absent from large portions of the film, which is a shame, because the opening act makes you eager to see more of Dunn, which will inevitably leave many audience members disappointed. We also get to see Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodward and Anya Taylor-Joy reprise their roles from Unbreakable and Split respectively, all three give strong performances and are integrated into the story quite well, they don’t feel unnecessary which was one of my fears going into this film.
Sadly, from here it is difficult to go in to much detail, as I don’t want to spoil anything for you guys and this is the kind of film that is filled with spoiler moments. Suffice to say, the events in the mental institution drive us forwards towards a climax that is going to divide fans, massively. I think this could be the most divisive film since The Last Jedi due to the ending along. It certainly wasn’t what I expected, and there are a few moments in particular that seem rather out of place and coincidental in order to provide us with the standard Shyamalan “twist ending”. It’s one of those climaxes that will play on the mind and will undoubtedly be the core of multiple debates and discussions for a long time to come. At first, I wasn’t a fan, but as I reflect and think about it, it is growing on me more and I think I will appreciate Glass more with future viewings, much like I did with Unbreakable.
Overall, Glass is growing on me and I am veering more towards the positive now, where at first I was conflicted. This is a film that subverts expectations and gives us something different, which will inevitably lead to divisions amongst fanbases. I very much view the climax as a “marmite ending” and I think this will be the “make or break” moment for a lot of people, I can understand both sides of the argument, but I’m thankful that I’ve found myself appreciating it more, although it is undeniably flawed in places.
I will probably write a spoiler review where I can explore this in more detail sometime in the future, but for now I will say that it is definitely worth watching, and it is, on the whole, a solid follow up to both Unbreakable and Split, showcasing the best (and at times, worst) of Shyamalan.
What did you think of Glass? What did you make of *that* ending? Let me know! But keep it spoiler-free for now.
I give Glass a 7.5/10.