Review: “Glass” Is A Strong End to “Unbreakable” Trilogy
Nineteen years have passed since the release of the M. Night Shyamalan film “Unbreakable.” Now, after many superhero blockbusters since that time; including Shyamalan’s own 2017 film “Split,” the trilogy concludes with “Glass.” While not the best film that Shyamalan has made, it marks a strong end to the trilogy and is worth the wait; having been teased since “Unbreakable” was initially released.
The story follows David Dunn (Bruce Willis) as he crosses paths with his old adversary of Elijah Price, better known by his alias of “Mr. Glass” (Samuel L. Jackson). He also encounters Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), who has 23 distinct personalities including a deadly identity known as “the Beast.” As the three are taken into a psychiatric hospital for examination, the three individuals clash in a manner rivaling the numerous superhero films released since 2000 with much more lavish budgets.
Working with producer Jason Blum and his company of Blumhouse Productions, Shyamalan shows off many of the same camera and editing techniques that he brought to “Unbreakable” and “Split” on a modest budget of $20 million. In the span of a tense 110 minutes, the story blends superhero action, horror and psychological thriller elements. The film bookends a slow-burning character study in a psychiatric hospital with practical action scenes that deliver a gut-punch in more ways than one. The central performances from Willis, Jackson and McAvoy are easily the best parts of the film.
One flaw the film has is that the narrative requires a working knowledge of “Unbreakable” and “Split” in order to fully enjoy the film, and the symbolism of the plot does get heavy-handed at points. Still, the film is a significant improvement over Shyamalan’s other recent work such as “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth.” Without spoiling anything, the obligatory twist at the end is also a new beginning for the world these films have built over the last 19 years.
Despite mixed critical reactions, audience reception has been much more positive; leading to the film having made over $88 million in the US and almost $200 million worldwide as of this writing. Whatever happens next for Shyamalan, it’s clear that “Glass” has shattered expectations for the long wait it faced until release. In an age of increasingly big-budget superhero films, sometimes all you need is a beast; a mastermind and an unbreakable man to make your movie entertaining.
Verdict: 4.5 Stars out of 5
At a Glance:
Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Charlayne Woodward and Anna Taylor-Joy
Written and Directed by M. Night Shyamalan