Glass might have an interesting concept, but director M. Night Shyamalan tries far too hard to subvert the genre and ends up with a long and boring production.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Summary: Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to subvert a genre when you decide to make any form of media. Plenty of books, movies, comics, and TV shows do it all the time. It appears, throughout some of the run time, that Shyamalan very much wanted to subvert the comic book genre with Glass. He did it once with Unbreakable and, after the surprise reveal at the end of Split, he clearly tried to do it again.
However, the script decided that the best way to go about doing that is to constantly make references to other comic books to make sure the audience is following along. It’s just one character after another constantly pointing out things like limited runs and origin stories. It’s about as subtle as a 2×4 to the face. The entire story doesn’t make any sense, isn’t trying to, and is instead too busy trying to make a point that we all got the first fifty times.
This is to say nothing about the sheer contempt Shyamalan seems to have for this genre and the people who love it. There is a line where a character calls out the consumerism of the genre while you’re sitting in a movie, that you paid for, that seemed willed into being because of that consumerism.
The biggest issue, and the thing that ultimately kneecaps the entire production, is that the pacing is so off that the movie becomes incredibly boring. This is a movie with a very brief first act and a second act that goes on for roughly 80% of the entire movie. It picks up again at the beginning of the third act, but by that point, we no longer care. The structure of the third act makes it feel like it has several false endings because Shyamalan had to make sure there was a twist at the end. It makes the actual ending of the movie feel extremely anti-climatic. Instead of going out on a high note, it feels like someone very slowly letting the air out of a balloon.
Aside from James McAvoy continuing to absolutely go for it with his performances in this movie, the rest of the cast looks so bored they risk falling asleep. Both Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson look like they decided that showing up was good enough and called it a day. Meanwhile, Sarah Paulson, who has been making insane material look good in American Horror Story, is surprisingly bland here. The rest of the supporting players are given almost nothing to do. Casey (Anya Taylor Joy) is back and the production somehow took the extremely creepy dynamic from the first movie and made it even creepier–in a bad way.
Glass is not the magnum opus of this trilogy and was not worth the seventeen-year wait. Between Split and now Glass, the legacy of Unbreakable feels truly tainted. There is just nothing interesting or fun about this movie and the points it is trying to make feel wholly insincere or have been better presented by people like Alan Moore. Shyamalan clearly wanted to make the comic book movie version of Watchmen but missed all of the things that made Watchmen great.
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