The third instalment in a surprise hero trilogy revealed in 2017’s Split, Glass is a very messy (but very fun) twist on the superhero movie that brings all of M. Night’s hard work since 2000’s Unbreakable to fruition.
Looping back around to the premise set up in Unbreakable, that comics are a form of historical text and therefore prove the existence of superheroes, Glass places its three extraordinary characters in a psychiatric hospital where their superhero status is questioned.
This is an interesting idea, but the film’s use of comics as a reference point is hammered home far too often, and problems arise when action gets stopped in its tracks by over-explaining dialogue. Real, tangible relationships and conversations, which Shyamalan has handled so well in previous films like Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, are sacrificed for the overarching themes he’s trying to tackle, which doesn’t leave much to cling on to in the way of emotional attachment.
However, Glass is a perfect companion to Split in that it is very silly and very, very fun. James McAvoy gives a particularly standout performance as Kevin Wendell Crumb/the Beast, adding yet more personalities to his already vast repertoire, and showing them off in one scene where he cycles through about 10 different personalities in the space of two minutes. Jackson and Willis are given less to work with, but still look like they’re having fun in Shyamalan’s twisted, pulpy universe.
Glass is overcome with big ideas that overshadow some of the smaller, more intimate moments that Shyamalan has proved he can do exceptionally well. However, it’s still a surprisingly amusing thriller and the most fun you’ll have in the cinema for a while. Bonus points for M. Night’s best cameo yet.
CAST: James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy
DIRECTOR: M. Night Shyamalan
WRITER: M. Night Shyamalan
SYNOPSIS: Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has 24 personalities.