Here's Why "Glass" Is Not Your Typical Superhero Flick
Calling it a superhero film might be a misnomer. Glass, the final movie of M. Night Shyamalan’s Eastrail 177 Trilogy, is a mystery film more than anything and it would be best appreciated as such. No matter how you feel about the polarizing director, this is a Shyamalan creation through and through.
Did you know that it takes at least 20 years for glass to form naturally? While it didn’t take Shyamalan 20 years to wrap up his own superhero trilogy (Unbreakable was released 18 years ago), one could argue that the results are as fascinating as naturally formed sea glass. The acclaimed director took ideas straight from the comic books, rolled and tumbled them, until, finally, the slickness wore off and he came away with three unique movies that would be hard to replicate.
Film stills and BTS images | Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures
In case you missed it, Split ended with a David Dunn (Bruce Willis) cameo at a diner. In that final scene, several people are talking about news reports regarding a criminal on the loose who is suffering from severe Dissociative Identity Disorder. They note that his bizarre nature is similar to another uncanny criminal from 16 years back—the difference being, the latter is a super genius but was born with Brittle Bone Disease. They’re talking about The Horde (James McAvoy) and Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson). This is where Glass begins.
Dunn who has been dubbed by the media as The Overseer is a vigilante of sorts. Think Batman mixed with Luke Cage but more low-key. He’s virtually invincible except for his one weakness, he can drown easily. Dunn, with the help of his son, goes on daily walks to find evildoers. He has his eyes set on finding Kevin Wendell Crumb a.k.a. The Horde, a supervillain who can tap into his many personalities including a superhuman one called The Beast. We are made to believe that when Crumb taps into The Beast, he can change his physical anatomy and gain superhuman strength and even climb walls.
From left: Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), The Horde (James McAvoy), and David Dunn (Bruce Willis)
Minor spoiler alert before we proceed.
Dunn and Crumb face off within the first hour of the movie and they get captured by the police. They are transported to a mental health facility and they, along with Elijah Price a.k.a. Mr. Glass, come face-to-face with a different sort of foe, Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur or people who believe they are actually superheroes.
As far the plot and the buildup goes, this is Shyamalan at his finest. From The Sixth Sense to even The Happening, he knows how to get people hanging on their seats, asking what’s gonna happen next. He employs amazing camera work that puts viewers in the point-of-view of the “superheroes” as Dr. Staple starts questioning them about their "powers." This great dissection of character wouldn’t feel out of place in a whodunit story.
Willis, Jackson, and McAvoy were great, as expected. McAvoy, in particular, looked like he was having fun with his many roles as The Horde. Who knew Professor X could be a better Beast than Nicholas Hoult? Actually, McAvoy could be the entire X-Men cast or Legion, if you’re into obscure comic book characters.
But as mentioned before, Glass is a Shyamalan film. So you’ll either love the ending or hate it. Like a lot of his films after Unbreakable, Glass will have people’s opinions split. Just don’t expect it to be a superhero movie by way of Marvel’s family-friendliness or even DC’s dark broodiness. It’s more like an X-Men movie set in an Elseworld’s universe. Fun fact: Unbreakable was a movie about superheroes even before that was a thing.
The lead stars behind the scenes with writer and director M. Night Shyamalan | Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
As for this reviewer’s opinion, I recommend watching Glass after revisiting 2000's Unbreakable and 2016's Split. Read about them or, better yet, watch the two films. It will make Glass (and the entire Eastrail 177 Trilogy) a more complete experience.
Catch M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass starting January 16 at Director’s Club and SM Cinema branches nationwide. Book your tickets through the website, www.smcinema.com or download the SM Cinema mobile app. You may also follow /SMCinema on Facebook and @SM_Cinema on Instagram for updates!