Glass Movie Review
Glass Movie Review Metadata
The conclusion of a trilogy 20 years in the making Glass doesn’t exactly shatter expectations, but it’s a worthy and solid end – or is it the end?
Glass picks up weeks after Split (2016) ended where the Horde/Collective (James McAlvoy) is running amok in Philadelphia and David Dunn (Bruce Willis) working the streets as The Overseer/The Protector in his green parka is determined to track them down. In a surprise move by doctors and armed personnel, they’re both captured and sent to a mental hospital to be studied by Dr. Staple (Sarah Paulson) who specializes in diagnosing and treating people who believe themselves to be superheroes like Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson).
For a film that has little to no CGI or green screen its strength lies solely on the humanity of its superheroes and villains. David just wants to use his abilities for good, the Horde just wants to crush the unworthy, and Mr. Glass wants to watch it all burn. Dr. Staple tries to convince each of them that they’re delusional, and their sickness is endangering people’s lives.
The three heroes/villains have their supporters – Joseph Dunn (Spencer Treat Clark), Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) chasing her connection with Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), and Mrs. Price (Charlayne Woodard) continues to go to bat for her son Elijah. The specific colors of Mr. Glass, The Protector, and The Horde set the tone in ways our subconscious picks up and it connects us strongly to the action.
Frankly, that’s good enough for me.
The Philadelphia backdrop is less glamorous than a Gotham or a Metropolis. No millionaires or scientists, just a single dad providing for his son, a psychotic manifestation of 24 DID ( personalities Dissociative Identity Disorder for those not up on the lingo) running amok in the city, and a broken mastermind so doped up on drugs, it’s all he can do to not drool. There is no flash here, no pumped special effects or loud soundtracks, just superhuman people in a bad situation discovering things are about to get a lot worse.
Glass is a gritty, down to earth thriller combining the best parts of Split and Unbreakable – Dennis/Patricia/Hedwig and Casey, David Dunn and his son Joseph, and Mr. Glass and his mom. There’s a human element to this film rooted in fear, loss, dominance, and self-worth. It’s also about the unreality of having your life orchestrated for you, all for an unimaginable climax in the last 16 panels of a psychotic’s comic book. This is a comic book movie without the shields or helmets or capes. Yes, it’s Shyamalan being a wee bit preachy, but he flashes his writing credentials by crossing genres and doubling back on characters and themes. It starts like a sequel and ends as an origin story. You simultaneously hope he ends it there while wanting more of everything.
By the way, if I have any quibble, it’s the heavy makeup on Woodard’s Mrs. Price that doesn’t make her look older so much as a weirdly reconstructed burn victim.
I enjoyed rewatching Unbreakable (2000), Split (2016) and there’s no doubt I’ll be adding Glass to my permanent collection. I believe it’s a worthy end to a worthy trilogy.
McAvoy deserves an Oscar just for existing. Just give it to him right now.
Glass is rated PG-13 for swears, people getting beat up, people getting hosed down, people getting drugged to the effing gills, people getting slashed, people getting bit, people being thrown into walls, sadistic orderlies, and the mounting dread as you watch an M. Night Shyamalan film that there’s something you’re totally missing.