Glass – Movie Review
Glass – R
Release Date: 18 Jan 2019
Glass is the surprise sequel to Unbreakable and Split that was revealed in a single, quick scene before Split’s credits rolled: The events of Split took place in the same universe as the events of Unbreakable, with David Dunn (Bruce Willis) shown watching the news reports about Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy.)
That twist at the end of Split excited many fans of both Unbreakable and Split that a likely sequel seeing the characters from the movies interact in a new narrative seemed inevitable. It also helped that Split was a fantastic film in it’s own right – anchored by a tremendous performance by James McAvoy as a character with dissociative identity disorder (DID) with two dozen unique personalities.
As the trailer makes clear, the central conceit of Glass is that a therapist (Sarah Paulson) ends up with Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), Dunn and Crumb. She specializes in people with delusions that they are superheroes and has a tight three days to work with them before they’re essentially locked away in an insane asylum.
While it’s great to see Jackson and Willis reprise their roles from Unbreakable, Shayamalan uses them relatively sparingly. Returning characters from Unbreakable and Split are also used mostly to fill us in on what has happened since Unbreakable and provide personal stakes for the three “supers.”
James McAvoy steals the movie with his powerhouse collection of characters. They’re distinctive, they’re funny in unique ways; They’re ultimately tragic. A loose collection of people trapped in a body trying to make sense of it.
The audiences are likely to be – pardon the pun – SPLIT themselves with the ending of the movie. It’s a risky but ultimately weighty feeling statement about the idea of super powers, heroes and villains. Though the three films now form a microcosmic cinematic universe, the film has a pretty genuine point about when superheroes are important and when they are false.
I appreciated the ending, but it definitely took me out of the movie and had me thinking more about what Shayamalan was trying to accomplish versus any lingering stakes in the film. That exciting twist of Split that led to this movie isn’t replicated here. If anything, the movie has an almost down ending.
Still, watching McAvoy work off of Willis, Jackson, Paulson and Anna Taylor-Joy is an absolute treat. If you liked that sort of thing in Split, it stands to reason you’ll enjoy Glass just fine.