"Glass" Review - (Non-Spoiler)
"Glass" is directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and stars James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sarah Paulson. It is the nineteen year in the making sequel to "Unbreakable" and "Split". The latter of which is a surprise "Unbreakable" sequel that blew many people's minds, myself included. In this film, we watch David Dunn use his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb. Eventually, they end up at a psych ward with Mr. Glass himself being interrogated by a specialist who believes they're under a delusion that they're all superheroes and she's trying to convince them that it's all in their mind.
To say that I was excited about this movie would be a massive understatement in regards to anticipation. This is on my top five of this year maybe even top two. I was so ready for this film. "Unbreakable", I consider to be an underrated masterpiece and "Split" I loved. So naturally, being in this theater today, I was just pumped, I was amped, I was ready. "Glass" has a lot to love. The first twenty minutes are absolutely amazing. They were so good in fact that I was worried. I didn't understand how he could possibly sustain such greatness for the entire runtime. I loved the reintroduction to David Dunn, seeing what his life was like since "Unbreakable". I loved so much about that opening scene, especially James McAvoy who is amazing throughout the entire runtime once again. He is worth the price of a ticket alone to see him reprise all of these roles that live inside of his mind. He is absolutely the best part of this film. Samuel L. Jackson, once he decides to become active in the story also gives an amazing performance, it really reminded me of his work in "Unbreakable". And Bruce Willis is trying, you're gonna hear that a lot. Although his character felt left on the sidelines for a lot of the movie, which we'll get into in a second.
The psych ward scenes, I was interested in and although it feels a bit long and there's a sense of "I don't know if this was what I wanted to see". It was still fascinating, especially as a story about the human psyche and the human condition and how we view ourselves along with the rest of the world. I also liked a lot of the messages behind these scenes. The use of color was beautiful once again, it's the same cinematographer from "Split". This is an extremely well-shot and directed movie from start to finish. Shyamalan definitely did not disappoint in regards to his direction. Although, there is an overuse of POV shots. That I would say is my biggest issue with the cinematography and the shot structure of this movie. There are also many shots with the camera mounted to the actor and it's pointed at their face and you get a GoPro look and it didn't always work for me. Overall, the movie is gorgeous to look at throughout. Going into this movie, there's going to be many people who will expect certain things. Some people just want to see the superhero action that was only hinted at in "Unbreakable". Because if you really think about "Unbreakable", there's just one shot where David puts a guy in a chokehold and that's about it in regards to action. Nevertheless, that doesn't bother me. I love that movie as a psychological thriller and it's one of my favorites. So, I wasn't expecting this movie to be like a Marvel movie. In fact, I was really hoping it would be the antithesis to that, just the exact polar opposite. In many ways, it is. I actually got more action than I expected with the opening scene and some things towards the end, which we're all done really well. but I'm gonna have to do a spoiler section for this review. Because obviously, there are things in the finale I can't get into here and I'll do that later this weekend.
I will say though that I was very let down by this movie. I struggled to comprehend how this ending was chosen amongst many others that you could have chosen. It's the kind of ending that does not feel earned. "Glass" was such a surefire thing. So many fans people who had been there with Shyamalan from the beginning who had supported him through his dry spell. Who really wanted him to succeed and make great films like me. His films inspired me and so many people and "Split" was such a great fit for him. So, I have been an M. Night Shyamalan defender for many years and I will probably continue to be. Because, in regards to his films, give me a filmmaker who takes the risks, who tries to make an original movie who puts out that vision over a filmmaker who's just on the conveyor belt. Just moving through in and out of the box office onto the next thing. That's not what Shyamalan does and I respect him for that very much. At the same time, this was a nineteen-year movie in the making and the way the film wraps up just really let me down. Still, so much of it though, I honestly loved.
It's a mixed bag with shades of greatness and then baffling decisions that I just can't comprehend. It's one of the most frustrating things about being a fan of Shyamalan. Because you're constantly defending him, you're explaining to people why you like his films. And through watching "Glass" for so many sequences you can see that he really knows what he's doing behind the camera. There's one shot of Samuel L. Jackson wheeling away from something and in the background, chaos is happening and it's just incredible to watch. There are sequences like that obviously show how talented the man is behind the camera. Then, people ask you questions like how can you defend him so much when he does choices like at the end of this film. There's rarely justification for those choices and you start to think about their point of view.
It's disheartening for someone who's defended him for so long to have been so let down by something that I was truly looking forward to. I'm not sure if this ending will polarize people. I feel like there will be a lot of people who really like the film and appreciate the different direction. I am one of those people that do really like the direction this movie takes. It's just the last 20 minutes that make the rest of it have so many questions.
There's a lot of unanswered questions and if you've ever actually had anyone that was in some sort of institution or you knew of the rules of an institution, you're just gonna constantly be asking yourselves how these patients had access to certain things. There's something that's used for James McAvoy's character which is a light that flashes on and off and it forces him to change identities to a safer one. That's a really fun idea and it gives us some great moments with McAvoy as he shifts through these performances. But, I just kept thinking, this could easily be solved by just taking a pillowcase and wrapping it around your eyes or covering your eyes. There are just little things like that throughout the film that bugged me. And I feel like I have to reiterate this, but I honestly didn't expect any action in this movie. I thought there'd be one fight scene, but there's more than I expected and so it has nothing to do with that. It just feels very anticlimactic for the build-up of the two previous films.
By far, one of my biggest disappointments with the movie is that Bruce Willis's character, David Dunn, barely has a character arc. He's so sidelined and in the background for most of this movie. His lines are even minimal at best. The musical score as well, I love West Dylan Thornton and what he did for "Split", and some of his music throughout the film is wonderful. But, it was very disappointing that there's hardly any of James Newton Howard's incredible "Unbreakable" themes. One of the most overlooked soundtracks of all time. I really looked forward to hearing more about that theme and it's barely used. By the way, they did some interesting things with flashbacks that I'll talk about in the spoiler section that I thought was a pretty smart idea. In conclusion, though, I was let down by this movie. I'm going to give "Glass" a temporary score of a 4 out of 10. I'm going to see the film again this weekend before assigning a final score to it. Because I feel really conflicted right now. There's so much I loved, and then other things that just really let me down. So, I want to see the film again. Also, this didn't diminish "Unbreakable" or "Split" for me. I still love those films and I didn't hate this at all. I just feel very conflicted by it and I have to see it again.