Movie Review: Glass

Glass is a self-indulgent misfire by Shyamalan who, in his attempt to pull a fast one over the audience, forgets that he has a trilogy to tell, resulting into long-winded half-baked mess that’s more like a book report on comic book tropes.

Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds David Dunn (Bruce Willis) pursuing Kevin Wendell Crumb’s (James McAvoy) superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.

Shyamalan, a director too full of himself despite being a one trick pony, seems to get back on track after The Visit. Everything before until the Signs was a body of work composed of every mistake that a director could do, including blatant self-indulgence (Lady in the Water), whitewashing and bad adaptation in one (Last Airbender), self-serious silliness (The Happening), ill-advised guerrilla marketing (The Buried Secrets of M. Night Shyamalan), and now a badly executed trilogy.

The movie starts interesting enough. At first, as comic book narratives would go, The Beast is pit against The Overseer. After a guy in a raincoat and half-naked dude in athleisure pants try to push each other around like a couple of overeager cosplaying teenagers, everything goes downhill from there.

Glass is Shyamalan at his worst, again. Intent on pulling another plot twist, the script spends most of its time stalling until the big reveal. The plot spends a huge chunk of its two hour running time in the psychiatric facility, where Dr. Staple attempts to psychologically gaslight the characters while the script does the same to an audience that’s been shown The Beast scaling a wall. Sarah Paulson is left with repetitive lines, expository dialogue, and introducing flashbacks that we’ve already seen in the previous films. The self-important comic book meanderings doesn’t help.

“Comic book isn’t history,” says Dr. Staple. Well no shit Sherlock.

All of the characters are wasted (with Ana-Taylor Joy reprising a fucked up role and used for unearned sentimentality). Bruce Willis seems to be acting in his sleep and in hindsight, an actually good idea in a movie that’s written for and by people who haven’t read a comic book since the 60’s. The script talks about the most generic of comic book narratives while not bothering to develop any of its super-powered characters – The Beast is the villain, The Overseer is the reluctant hero, Mr. Glass is the mastermind. Instead it turns McAvoy into a party trick, where a flash of hypnotic light brings out a sequence of improv exercises – apparently there’s an art snob and a Spanish dude in there too.

The third act finally put’s Mr. Glass out of the bench and Samuel L. Jackson to work. It didn’t matter. The action scenes that you’ll see in the beginning doesn’t make any improvement later on. The final showdown involves people standing around while two weirdos brawl to a total of 5-10 minutes.

And the ending? a badly contrived plot twist that will make everything that’s been set-up in previous films and everything that you’ve watched for the past two hours worthless. Shyamalan back pedals so far back to pull a gotcha move on the audience that it makes no sense. Glass does have some interesting compositions, an aesthetic that makes it look like a decent Split sequel. But in trying to create a hybrid with Unbreakable, is where it falls apart.

Glass is an ill-timed vanity project. In an era of cinematic universes that have sucked the mystery out of comic book stories, it’s a pretentious finale from a self-satisfied director who has clearly run out of steam.

My Rating: 4/10

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