by Douglas Montgomery II
In 2016, M. Night Shyamalan gave us Split, a mystery/thriller starring James McAvoy as a man with 23 different personalities. It was excitingly suspenseful, McAvoy gave a noteworthy split personality performance, and it was a nice return to form for Shyamalan. Then, adding some connectivity flavor, surprisingly links the narrative to Shyamalan’s 2000 Unbreakable. For those who saw Split, it was a nice shock, generating eager anticipation, and setting up the inevitable sequel, that is the just released Glass, starring James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, and Samuel Jackson.
Now Unbreakable would be categorized as a mystery drama, and Split a thriller mystery, but Glass, turns out is fantasy drama, and felt a little out of place amongst the previous two movies that preceded it, and I’ll explain why later. I was really looking forward to seeing where Glass took the story from Split’s ending, but where with Split I was intrigued, and at times on the edge of my seat at what McAvoy’s character, Kevin Wendell, was going to do next, with Glass there’s no more underlying mystery to him, we already know about that “one” personality. And the buildup to Kevin and David Dunn’s (Bruce Willis) confrontation happened too quick, and proved ultimately unsatisfying. Linking Split to Unbreakable now just feels like a clever attempt to link a story, in order to spark fan excitement and generate some box office love.
Glass, tied to Unbreakable, reminded me why I had some issues with the later. It was kind of boring. The tone of Glass, like Unbreakable, set to a grainy, grey, after it’s been raining atmosphere, but lacking the mysteriousness and intensity of Split, just didn’t keep me engaged. The abduction plot line in Split, a little akin to Silence of the Lambs, helped propel that story forward, but that’s, unfortunately absent in Glass. Instead we have a psychiatrist(with a hidden agenda) trying to convince all of the main characters that their powers are really just curable manifestations of the mind. And the film’s reveal towards the end, lending to an overarching, fantasy-like sub-plot, just didn’t work. Out of the three, Split is by far the better movie. I still believe Shyamalan’s got skills, but he should’ve let Split end as a standalone movie, without the Unbreakable lineage.
The return of Samuel Jackson and Bruce Willis is definitely the highlight of this movie, but the charm of their return didn’t last very long, and it didn’t save the movie either. I had high expectations for Glass, but couldn’t get past some of the above mentioned flaws. I thought and hoped, that like Split, Glass would be Shyamalan’s return to recreating the success of his earlier work, but it’s not. It’s an effort to break that glass wall of disappointment, but for this movie goer, the glass is cracked, but not yet broken. Glass is now playing in theaters! Go check it out!