Cast of the movie Glass: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark
Glass film maker: M Night Shyamalan
Glass film rating: 2.5 stars
Names that refer to the Bible, ideas that come from comics, stories that refer to superheroes. There’s a lot going on in Glass, an ambitious M Night Shyamalan film, seeking to establish its own superhero franchise. A little too much perhaps.
As always, Shyamalan’s strength lies in the frightening situations his deceptively modest characters find themselves in. Glass is a sequel, once retired, to his groundbreaking Unbreakable, which features an unusual origin story for a superhero and a villain, and how one is required for the other. In the middle was Split, a movie where McAvoy’s Kevin housed 24 personalities as a patient with Dissociative Identity Disorder and had only a tangential connection to Unbreakable. Glass seeks to reunite Unbreakable and Split, in an all not too convincing, Kevin is now presented as a superhero of another kind.
Glass mixes the movies together by putting Unbreakable’s Elijah / Mr Glass (Jackson) and David Dunn / Overseer (Willis) in the same mental institution as Split’s Kevin / David / Patricia / The Beast / etc etc. There is an embarrassing and inept psychiatrist named Dr. Ellie Staple (Paulson) tries to ‘treat’ all three, his specialty being ridding people of ‘delusions of grandeur’, or the thought that they have ‘superpowers’. “. While Staple doesn’t make any convincing attempts in this direction, the movie itself stumbles in throwing comic book fan stuff at us.
Ever since we parted ways with Elijah and David 19 years ago, Elijah has been at this facility, where the brittle-bones genie has apparently been reduced to a drugged mute, motionless in a wheelchair. Of course, anyone who looked closely at the CCTV cameras in this “well-guarded facility” would know better. Meanwhile, in the outside world, David, who was made aware of his superhero powers by Elijah, saved the world as best he could and earned the title of Overseer. For the costume, David wears a rain poncho, which covers his eyes more than his face, and like all superheroes, operates in the benefactor / vigilant gray area. Kevin has only been around for a few years and ever since we let him tackle young women in Split he continues to do the same, until David makes sure he’s caught.
There’s also Clark, reprising his role as David’s son Joseph, who is the only one aware of David’s powers, aside from Elijah. He helps his father’s superhero efforts through GPS, monitoring police conversations, etc. From the movie Split, falls into Casey (Taylor-Joy), who was one of Kevin / The Beast’s victims in that movie but put it all behind her.
Shyamalan juggles all these pieces together in this mental establishment, makes weak jokes about tall buildings that are a “wonder” and heroes who “avenge” (said by Jackson himself, the Nick Fury of The Avengers), packs in characteristic twists that some see come from afar, and promises a bigger ending and a broader meaning than the film ultimately delivers.