Glass allows fans of M. Night Shyamalan to finally see the return of the characters from one of the director’s most beloved movies.
In 2000, M. Night Shyamalan was at the top of his game. He was thriving following his breakout film The Sixth Sense. Thanks to this, he decided to create his take on a superhero movie. At this time, the superhero craze was in its infancy. Blade and X-Men were all there was to show for it outside of the then dead Batman franchise.
Shyamalan didn’t care about the regular superheroes anyway. His idea was much different. He cast the 44-year-old Bruce Willis to play a middle-aged father who learned he had superpowers. The movie was a character study of how this affected one man and his family.
Unbreakable and Split
While people still loved Sixth Sense, Shyamalan’s masterpiece was Unbreakable. He talked about a sequel for years but as his career began to stumble thanks to critical disdain of later films, that sequel was never made.
Thanks to Blumhouse, who has the magic touch of taking smaller budget horror movies and turning them into theatrical success stories, Shyamalan had a minor resurgence with the found-footage horror movie The Visit. That allowed him to make another horror thriller in Split and that movie’s twist ending got fans excited. It took place in the same world as Unbreakable.
That brings us to Glass. Released three years after Split, it brings David Dunn (Willis) from Unbreakable and The Horde (James McAvoy) from Split together, where Mr. Glass (Samual L. Jackson) is able to orchestrate the superhuman battle he always dreamed of.
Unlike Unbreakable and to a lesser extent Split, it seemed that Glass was a little more polarizing. However, if a person was a fan of either of those earlier movies, there is a lot to love about the latest Shyamalan film.
Dunn’s wife has died since Unbreakable and he is now working with his grown son Joseph (who is played by the same actor who played him as a child — Spencer Treat Clark). Joseph is David’s “man in the chair” and is helping him track people using the computer while David uses his powers of touching people to see their sins and his invulnerability to anything but water to defeat them.
After beating the hell out of two muggers, he sets out and finds The Horde, who has some cheerleaders captured to sacrifice to The Beast.
Remember, The Horde is Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with 23 distinctive split personalities, created to protect him from pain after his mother abused him horribly as a child. The Beast is the 24th personality that some of the others serve.
Anyway, David and The Horde have a knockdown,
Glass: The Final Battle
They end up locked up in an institution where Mr. Glass, the evil genius from Unbreakable has been since that first movie. There, a psychiatrist named Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) starts to experiment on them through therapy sessions and other methods to try to help cure them of their delusions that they have superpowers.
Of course, one thing leads to another, Mr. Glass turns out to still be an evil genius, and David and The Horde battle once again.
There are some interesting moves that Shyamalan makes here. He questions whether Joseph’s hero worship of his dad is healthy. Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), the victim from Split, is back and for some reason, she has a connection with Kevin now. It seems like Stockholm syndrome, but she seems concerned about Kevin’s innocence in a mind with malicious personalities fighting to break through.
Finally, there is Mr. Glass’ mother (Charlayne Woodard), who doesn’t even get a name. All three of them play into the story and are just puzzle pieces that Shyamalan moves around until he reaches his final act.
Breaking down Glass
There is a lot of talking in this movie and it is clear that M. Night Shyamalan has a lot to way about superheroes in general. While some might find the talk pretentious, it is all very fascinating and interesting as the story unfolds.
There is also the expected M. Night Shyamalan twist at the end of Glass and that is where the movie loses a lot of fans. This isn’t a movie with a really satisfying end. However, it is a movie that’s ending makes sense when looking at the entire story.
It also looks like a setup for a sequel, although Shyamalan told IndieWire that he was not interested in a sequel. That means that, while the movie set up a much larger world to explore, the director is finished with his story. The ending of Glass is his final comment on what it means to live in a world of superheroes.
This is a movie that lives and dies by whether you buy the world Shyamalan is selling you. Is living in a world with superheroes a good thing? Is someone with super powers saving people by any means necessary a good thing? David Dunn is a hero, but is he the one the world needs?
There is also the fact that Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man responsible for countless murders, it as much a victim as anyone. Shyamalan goes a long way to show that there were no real monsters here. Even The Beast was there to serve a greater purpose.
In a world of superheroes and villains, even the bad guys are sympathetic. Well, almost all the bad guys. Remember, there is that Shyamalan twist. If you make it to that twist and still love this world, Glass continues Shyamalan’s return to relevance.