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Glass – Movie Review

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Glass – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

Superhero movies have become such a massive part of the film culture, it’s become almost its own genre. Filmmakers are exploring the idea of superheroism in different ways and that will keep them from running stale. One could argue M. Night Shyamalan was ahead of the curve on that front with Unbreakable. Continuing the stories of that film and Split, Glass has some interesting ideas and the filmmaking has its moments of inspiration. However, Shyamalan seems far more invested in telling his villains’ stories than that of his main hero David Dunn. The result ends up being a somewhat disjointed and overlong experience.

At first, Glass seems like it will explore the concept of vigilantism and using one’s powers for good, rather than evil. It’s a well worn thread in superhero movies, but one nonetheless worth exploring. Shyamalan uses shadows and mood well in these early scenes and properly establishes Bruce Willis’s Dunn and James McAvoy’s multi-personality antagonist for those who haven’t seen the earlier films. There’s certainly an intrigue when they are moved to a psychiatric hospital. A lot of Sarah Paulson’s dialogue as the head psychiatrist is expository, but Shyamalan mainly uses her as a way to play into the whole theme of comic books and their place as a modern artform.

Surprisingly, Dunn disappears for large chunks of the film. What little we see of him presents an intriguing character and Glass could have done more to explore his own reactions to being locked up in this hospital. Willis has transitioned into an actor known more for quiet intensity than the quips of his earlier days and that trait is used effectively in his performance. However, the movie essentially becomes the McAvoy and Samuel L. Jackson Show. McAvoy is a lot less irritating in Glass than he was in Split and Shyamalan allows us the opportunity to see more of his personalities. Jackson, meanwhile, ecstatically goes over-the-top in his role as the titular villain Mr. Glass.

The movie mainly meanders along as we get talky scenes of Paulson’s meetings with her three patients, ultimately leading to a lengthy climax. At ninety minutes, Glass would have made for a passable thriller. However, it just keeps going past the two hour mark, with Shyamalan filling the screenplay with constant speeches that spell the message out to the audience. This is also one of those movies that seems like it will never end with points where it could conclude, but Shyamalan appears to have more story to tell. Glass could have ended about twenty minutes earlier than it does.

Glass is a film with a lot of promise and M. Night Shyamalan certainly puts a lot on the table. There is a definite love for comic books and one admires his want to show the versatility of superheroes as a means to tell a variety of stories. There are some interesting concepts and questions thrown into the film and his filmmaking prowess is evident in a number of scenes. The movie just doesn’t quite gel together in a satisfying way and its most intriguing character is disappointingly underused. One of the nicest things that can be said about this film is it’s heartwarming that Shyamalan finally got to conclude his planned trilogy.

Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison