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Glass (2019) Review

By Ian Crow

M.Night Shyamalan follows up his hugely successful 2016 film ‘Split’ with ‘Glass’. ‘Split’ left audiences shocked with the presence of Bruce Willis’s character from ‘Unbreakable’ turning up at the end of the film. For the film fanatics out there this meant one thing: the two films were from the same universe. A few months after ‘Split’, M.Night Shyamalan announced he was making the third film in an unexpected franchise of these ‘comic-book characters’ with James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson all returning to reprise their roles. Admittedly, ‘Unbreakable’ isn’t a huge favourite of mine; however it is easily one of the better examples of the directors work. This is due to how grounded ‘Unbreakable’ was and as he was coming off ‘The Sixth Sense’, Shyamalan was in an amazing run of form. With the introduction of ‘Split’ to his filmography, ‘Split’ easily became my favourite piece of work from Shyamalan; especially following his extremely sub-par efforts in previous years (reference: The Last Airbender, The Visit and The Happening).

‘Glass’ is set almost straight after the events of ‘Split’. Kevin Wendell Crumb is still loose in Philadelphia but this time, David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is aware of his crimes and is eager to continue his vigilante work to bring him down. In ‘Unbreakable’ David Dunn decides to utilize his superhuman powers to help those less fortunate. After tracking down James McAvoy’s infamous character they’re both sent, due to police presence, to a psychiatric hospital where Mr Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is also residing. In this facility they are all monitored with close scrutiny by a doctor (Sarah Paulson) who specialises in treating individuals who are delusional in to thinking they have superhero powers.

Now, there is a lot I enjoyed about ‘Glass’ but there is also a lot I have issues with overall. Firstly, we must commend the work of James McAvoy who so artfully and accurately replicates his incredible feat in ‘Split’. By far he is the most animated and enjoyable character in the film – the craftsmanship that goes into the split (pun intended) second changes from one character to another is beyond outstanding. Without James McAvoy’s display of characters and versatility ‘Glass’ simply would not be worthwhile the watch.  Additionally both Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson give their characters a lot of time and energy which really shows given they both have seemingly struggled to give good performance for a long while (read as: 2012/13 (UK Release dates)  with ‘Looper’ and ‘Django Unchained’).
Now onto the parts I didn’t necessarily enjoy. Despite their performances I do not believe there was much need for the re-introduction of either Bruce Willis or Samuel L. Jackson’s characters at all. The huge performance from James McAvoy completely overshadows them and personally, makes the other two main characters unimportant. I would had loved to just had a ‘Split’ sequel, or for it just to be left alone.

Now, I do also have some annoyances with James McAvoy’s character, though at no fault of his own; these annoyances are all directed at the director. Firstly, his need to use ‘The Beast’ is far too overused in ‘Glass’. This results in the teasing during ‘Split’, the build-up and pay off when finally being introduced to this character, being made redundant. The fact ‘The Beast’ becomes commonplace removes the fear factor and as a result deals a huge blow to the film. Last but not least, the ending of the film is unsatisfying and anti-climactic. It felt as though an ending was a struggle to conclude and so they settled for an easy-way-out, I won’t detail this as I don’t want to spoil the ending, if we can call the ending any more spoilt than it already is!

I can assure you that my excitement levels were nowhere near as high for the arrival of ‘Glass’ as they were for ‘Split’ and I am glad that they weren’t. I was apprehensive at the thought of the movies existence and how it would work and whilst I still feel apprehensive about the film as a whole I am pleasantly surprised by aspects of the film I came to enjoy. It’s perfectly paced, characters are entertaining, especially McAvoy’s, and the set pieces are a joy to watch too. But a clunky ending and overuse of ‘The Beast’ left me a little disappointed as it was gearing up to a much more thrilling and satisfying conclusion.

If you like our review for Glass, then read what we thought of Split!

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