‘Glass’ – Review: An Underwhelming Sequel To A Promising Franchise

Coming hot off the heels of “X-Men” in the summer of 2000 was a little film from director M. Night Shyamalan called: “Unbreakable,” a criminally underrated film centered on a man who learns he has extraordinary abilities after a train accident. Ever since the unexpected “reveal” in 2017’s “Split,” fans have been wondering as to what would happen next in this new superhero franchise.

Combining the lead characters from “Unbreakable” and “Split,” M. Night Shyamalan unites Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy to reprise their respected roles as the three finally meet face-to-face. Now the question is: was it worth the wait?

Actors Samuel L. Jackson (Elijah Price), James McAvoy (Kevin W. Crumb), and Bruce Willis (David Dunn): Universal Pictures

This film begins with an incredible scene with James McAvoy – who steals the show throughout the entire film; as his performance alone is worth the admission. For the people who’ve liked his performance in “Split,” he delivers yet again by revitalizing this character even further than when we saw him last. Watching him literally change through multiple personalities mid-sentence is truly astonishing as to what he can do as an actor.

As for the rest of the cast, everyone seems to do fine with what they were given. Although the acting was okay throughout the film, there were times that it was dialogue-heavy, especially with Sarah Paulson’s character. Having Spencer Treat Clark reprise his role as David Dunn’s son, Joseph, was a great call to the first film, but also wasn’t given much to work with. The same applies to Anya Taylor-Joy, who reprises her role as Casey – as she was a near-complete waste until the third act, and even then was she underused.

Bruce Willis has been known to essentially “sleep-walk” during most of his films, but going off his performance in “Unbreakable” and “Glass,” you can tell he admires this role. It’s just that in this particular film, he wasn’t given as much to do as some fans would have hoped. Another victim to this was Samuel L. Jackson; even after knowing just how much his character is capable of, it was a true letdown as to how the great Mr. Glass was.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price: Universal Pictures

One of the more enjoyable things about “Glass” was that it had an engaging first act. The opening scene starts off by putting you right into a “Split-like feel,” which then leads to Dunn and The Horde battling it out within the first 20 minutes. There were also some interesting style choices used throughout the film, most notably the colors representing the characters which were purple for Elijah, green for David, and a beige-ish color for The Beast. One stylistic choice that didn’t work was the sort of point-of-view shots as they were overly used to the point it didn’t feel anything more than a boring documentary and was quite dull at times.

The moment all three characters are seen in the mental institution was set up as what would have been a character study and the momentum gets lost almost completely. There’s nothing wrong with a film being slow, but when you waste thirty to forty-five minutes of screen time with Sarah Paulson’s character literally repeating herself every five minutes really takes it’s toll and will probably lose audiences in the second act. Shyamalan bit off way more than he could chew for his big “twist” that everyone was looking for, which will be very divisive among fans without a doubt.

One thing fans would probably appreciate is that there were multiple scenes in this film that featured unused footage from “Unbreakable” which played very well within the scene in which they were used, as they were still able to hold up. Another thing that Shyamalan did well was the action sequences and a lot of people might not like it as much as what they’re used to with all of the big-budget Marvel and DC films, but it was executed quite well and made the film feel more grounded and riveting.

Actress Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple: Universal Pictures

“Glass” is a film that is full of great ideas, but is executed in all the wrong ways. Shyamalan makes the mistake of pandering to audiences as though he believes we won’t understand what’s going on. Fans of the franchise were essentially promised and teased a climactic showdown with all three main characters – which we kind of get but it felt as though it wasn’t earned. This film isn’t as bad as Shyamalan’s worst films, but after watching the finished product after years of anticipation, it was truly a disappointment. If you’re a fan of the franchise and want to see these worlds collide and characters meet, by all means, check this movie out, but don’t hold your breath.

“Glass” = D+

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