Years ago, I was exposed to the 2000 film Unbreakable directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Even though I watched it first when I was fairly young, I still remember being incredibly impressed by how grounded and unique the film felt as a whole, and it was one of the most original movies I had seen at the time. Additionally, my teacher in high school had a weekly class where he showed the students a film that he deemed as a classic, and one day he showed us Unbreakable. For the most part, the class seemed relatively intrigued by it all, except for a few students here and there that just did not quite get it or were simply uninterested in it. But I remember it clearly because it was one of the first times that I ever was able to have a full conversation with a teacher about a film that I genuinely adored.
Fast forward to the year 2017 when I went to see Shyamalan’s latest, Split. Before going to the theatre with my mother and father to see the film, we thought it was just going to be a picture about kidnapping and would be an interesting look about a man that has dissociative identity disorder (DID). As the film progressed, my family and I were heavily impressed by how thrilling the entire thing was, but I will never forget the moment when the ending came on screen, and we get to see David Dunn (Bruce Willis) appear in a diner responding to a customer who was unsure of the name of the man who was similar to Split‘s protagonist Kevin Wendell Crumb, with Dunn responding “Mr. Glass.” My entire theatre went nuts, and my parents who had not seen Unbreakable at the time were confused as to why hundreds of people were going crazy over Willis making an appearance.
The entire ending of Split got fans extremely excited for the third and final film in the Eastrail 177 trilogy – Glass. It perfectly teased some rather intriguing ideas and concepts for the series to end with.
Weeks after the ending of Split, David Dunn, now being named “The Overseer” is in pursuit of Kevin Wendell Crumb / The Horde (James McAvoy) after he learns of his supervillain persona “The Beast” and his efforts to feed unexpecting teenagers to the creature. This eventually leads Dunn to a psychiatric facility where Elijah Price / Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is being kept, who will eventually emerge as the orchestrator that will bring these two superhumans together to fight.
Much like the aforementioned Split, this picture’s best quality is probably that of McAvoy’s incredible performance(s) as Kevin Wendell Crumb or The Horde. It is honestly mesmerizing to see this man transform into several different characters within the span of a couple of seconds and each personality that Kevin has feels unique and it works so well thanks to McAvoy. With another actor in the role, it may not work as well, but because of McAvoy’s incredible talent it is brilliant.
Although Willis is not in the film as much as some fans were hoping he would be, his scenes are still memorable and are actually quite emotional at times as well. There were numerous sequences where I felt a lot of sympathy towards Dunn after we learn of a couple of things as the story progresses. Jackson is also terrific once again as Mr. Glass, but the performance that possibly surprised me the most was that of Anya Taylor-Joy reprising her role as Casey Cooke from Split – the sole survivor of The Beast. Not enough people are talking about her performance here. After what she went through in that movie, she is obviously going to go through a lot of pain and emotion, and she does and we get to see that in Glass. A lot of the things that happen to her character and Kevin’s were genius and the way it progresses was remarkable and perfect. The dynamic between the two works so well, and every single character present gets something of importance to do.
One of Glass‘s strongest elements is the tension that is crafted so expertly by writer/director M. Night Shyamalan. He obviously understands these characters perfectly having created them all, and he finds so many interesting things to do with them that it is hard to be bored while watching the film. It has a real slow-burning build feel to it all that eventually leads to something so grand that it left me completely floored.
Even though this picture is over two hours long, I honestly felt like I could have watched another two hours and I would not have minded it at all. The world of this trilogy is so massive and so interesting that I found myself not wanting to leave it.
The film’s cinematography by Mike Gioulakis (who also shot Split) is additionally visually stunning for the most part. There were a couple of times that the film utilizes a heavy amount of point-of-view shots that at first was rather jarring but you do get used to it after a while.
Split‘s composer West Dylan Thordson also returns to score Glass and delivers a fitting musical score to end the trilogy. His music throughout the film helped propel a large portion of the scenes forward and gave a lot of them more emotional weight.
Sometimes the humor in the film can bog it down, but only really in the first twenty or so minutes. There were some times in the beginning where the writing of the comedy just did not feel right and was a little bit awkward, but luckily, it fades away rather quickly as Shyamalan clearly wants to throw audiences right into the action right away.
Quick words of advice for audiences wanting to see Glass however – do not go into the film with a plethora of fan theories circulating in your mind because you might not always get what you hope for. This is what happened in 2017 with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. A large portion of the people that went to see that film were disappointed due to their many fan theories being proven false, which I worry will also happen to fans of this trilogy. Simply go see Glass with the knowledge that it is a sequel to both Unbreakable and Split and you will more than likely have a great time.
M. Night Shyamalan delivers an immensely thrilling and emotionally rich conclusion to the Eastrail 177 trilogy with Glass – a film that takes its time with its characters and has an intriguing story to tell that definitely pays off.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence including some bloody images, thematic elements, and language
Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Running Time: 129 minutes