Director M. Night Shyamalan closes out his Eastrail 177 trilogy with his latest film, Glass from Universal Pictures. Serving as a sequel to both 2016’s Split and 2000’s Unbreakable, Glass find David Dunn (Bruce Wills) utilizing his superhuman strength to fight crime using the alias, “The Overseer.” Meanwhile, in the two years since Split, Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) who has multiple personality disorder is continuing his evil deeds. When David learns that Kevin is holding a group of cheerleaders captive he springs into action. During the attempted rescue, David encounters “The Beast,” the most menacing of Kevin’s personalities.
Through a series of events, both men end up in a mental institution, where David encounters his former archenemy Elijah Price aka “Mr. Glass.” (Samuel L. Jackson). While Elijah and Kevin think they are supervillains, David believes he is a superhero. Soon all three men are under the care of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who wants to cure the men from what she thinks is a mental illness. What the doctor does not know is that Elijah has an ulterior motive and plans to use Kevin to achieve his goal.
I have never considered myself a fan of M. Night Shyamalan previous films. Of the thirteen films, he has directed I only enjoyed four of them. Thankfully Glass falls into the category of Shyamalan films that I enjoy. One of the strengths of Glass is the film’s screenplay, as Shyamalan’s script for the film comes across as an intelligent comic book film. While there are, some great action set pieces; Glass is more about accepting your fate, no matter how difficult that may be.
Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are both excellent in their roles, and it was great to see the two reunite on screen together for the first time in nineteen years. In my opinion, Sarah Paulson is one of the best actress working today, and she is excellent as Dr. Ellie Staple. The standout performance of the film though is James McAvoy as Kevin.
Taking on 23 different personalities, McAvoy is astonishing to watch on the screen. Portraying different personality types from a foul-mouthed teenage girl to a nine-year-old boy to a pervert with OCD, McAvoy’s performance alone is worth the price of admission. In a lesser actor’s hand, the role could have come across as comical, however, with McAvoy, the performance is a success.
While Glass is generally enjoyable, some of the issues I have with M. Night Shyamalan’s films are present. Ideally, M. Night Shyamalan should have given audiences a proper sequel to Unbreakable before Split. While he does deserve praise for linking Split and Unbreakable, fans of the latter may leave Glass disappointed. Like some of his previous work, the first and third act of Glass is the strongest with the middle section being a bit weak. Known for having a twist in his films, the twist in Glass is not as mind-blowing as his previous work, but it is still effective.
The supporting cast whose characters all have a pivotal connection to our three leads serve no real purpose in Glass. Returning from Unbreakable, Charlayne Woodard & Spencer Trent Clark who portray Elijah’s mother and David’s son do not have any merit in their roles. The same sentiment holds for Anya Taylor-Joy who was our female lead in Split in Glass she is a bit underwritten.
Sans a few pacing issues and slow second act, I do recommend Glass. More of a character study about human nature, as opposed to a CGI, filled spectacle; Glass closes out close out the Eastrail 177 trilogy with success.
Final Grade B