“Glass” won’t shatter your expectations, but it’s still fantastic

“Glass” won’t shatter your expectations, but it’s still fantastic

“Glass” won’t shatter your expectations, but it’s still fantastic
January 21
19:38 2019

I stepped out of the theater over the weekend feeling as though I was caught in a previous era of filmmaking.

“Glass,” M. Night Shyamalan’s surprise sequel to “Split,” the surprise sequel to “Unbreakable,” is an adequately cerebral continuation of David Dunn’s (Bruce Willis) time as a vigilante, though its style of “superhero movie” makes known the franchise’s age in ways you don’t want to realize. Its director’s inability to compete from a pure action standpoint keeps the much anticipated sequel a solid character study with a mediocre choreography department.

How he managed to make two sequels to one of the best movies in film history and that they worked on their own merits, is a landmark achievement in Shyamalan’s career.

David now runs a hardware store with his son, Joseph. The two of them night time as a sort of Batman and Oracle duo, with Joseph advising David while he searches for those in need of help. David gets caught by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a specialist who claims to work with those who believe they are superheroes and are not well.

She manages to capture both Kevin (James Mcavoy) and Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson), who’s gone full delusional and asks to be called “First name, Mister. Last name, Glass.” The three of them spend their time in the film stuck in a mental ward, while they are slowly drip-fed the idea that they are in fact not meta-human like they’ve individually come to believe.

The father-son duo is quite possibly the strongest continuation of any of the plots from the previous two films, followed in close measure by McAvoy’s performance of over 23 individual characters stuck inside Kevin. The film cherry-picks aspects of both “Unbreakable” and its surprise 2017 sequel “Split,” filtering in the essential components of those movies to build a motivation and reason for the conflict to exist in this one.

This goes as far as to bring in the protagonist of “Split,” Casey (Anya Taylor Joy), briefly to reaffirm the themes from that movie and carry them into this one. In this way, “Glass” feels like a dedicated sequel to both films without losing too much focus.

Jackson’s performance is one of the few where I was left feeling robbed of. He finds himself sedated heavily for a large portion of the film, and while it makes total sense from a story perspective, (he’s just too clever to handle), his time to shine on the silver screen is relegated to the third act.

Dr. Staple’s character is one whose seemingly altruistic in intent throughout, and while I won’t spoil the resolution of the story, what and who she represents from a larger universe perspective is the most tantalizing aspect of the film to me.

However, the film feels decidedly old. It’s as introspective and somber as the first film, and unsettling and intense as the second. However, these themes come from strong character dynamics and an impressive and off-kilter script. Nothing about the staging of the scenes or the action itself says, “I’m from this decade of filmmaking.”

The choreography is mediocre and anything that goes beyond two people talking doesn’t ever play as you’d hope it would on screen.

Its saving grace, however, is that while it isn’t packed with the solid action that we’ve come to expect from superhero movies from this decade, it dives deep in the psyche of these characters they’re upbringing in such a way that at times I truly didn’t know if they actually were meta-humans. The writing compensates from a lackluster action piece and while action has never been the point of his movies, if it is in there, make it good.

“Glass” is a movie we never knew we would have wanted, yet it builds on the previous two films in such a way that the disparate releases of the films in this franchise feel close in proximity, and the project feels as cohesive as most out there, for spanning almost 20 years.

Rating: 3.5/5

Featured Image: “Glass” promotional image. Courtesy Facebook. 

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Zach Helms

Zach Helms

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