I was a bit on the fence about seeing “Glass”, the culminating chapter to M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” trilogy which started way back in 2000 with the movie of the same name. When I was invited to celebrate #InternationalPopcornDay at the SM Cinema’s Director’s Club with a special screening of the movie, I felt like it was fate egging me on to see how the trilogy finally ends. While many of the reviews for the movie was not very favorable, I actually thought it was the best film of the trilogy. Seriously.
Synopsis: A few weeks after the events of “Split,” the Horde (James McAvoy) strikes again, this time kidnapping four cheerleaders and keeping them in an abandoned warehouse near the Philadelphia Zoo, his former lair. Meanwhile, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the “unbreakable man” who was the only survivor of a tragic train crash 19 years ago, has been taking on the persona of the Overseer, protecting his city against crime in vigilante fashion. As the two come face to face in a showdown, they are caught by authorities and kept in a mental facility along with Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), where they are assessed and made to question if their gifts indeed give them superhuman capabilities.
It would be very helpful to watch the first two movies in the trilogy for one to better appreciate the backstories of the three main characters in the series. David Dunn and Elijah Glass were originally introduced as two polar opposite characters in the first movie Unbreakable, while the Horde, 23 distinct identities sharing the body of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) headlined his own film in 2016, “Split.” To be completely honest, I never finished Unbreakable in my multiple attempts to watch the movie in its entirety because I felt like it had too much dialogue and too little action. Split was okay although, apart from James McAvoy’s compelling portrayal of 23 distinct personalities, there really wasn’t much that made the film stand out. “Glass” finally gave Mr. Glass, the most fragile man alive, the platform to unveil his grand scheme which took 19 years to culminate.
I liked the vibe that Glass took to establish the tone of the movie. From the onset, there was a sense of mystery that surrounded Mr. Glass, and the film took its sweet time to reintroduce the character that fans of the franchise loved to hate. It felt like he had an ace up is sleeve that he just could not wait to unveil. I felt like writer/director M. Night Shyamalan may have taken some inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest in terms of cinematography and musical score and it was beautiful to watch each frame shot beautifully and thoughtfully. The quietness and the open spaces in each scene gave the characters the focus they deserved and highlighted their actions effectively. In turn, this made audiences pay attention and anticipate what would happen next.
Sarah Paulson’s character Dr. Ellie Staple, a new character in the series, did most of the talking in the movie. The character tried at every opportunity to demolish the idea that the two previous films already established about the three characters having superhuman gifts (strength and intuition for David, strength and agility for the Beast and a superhuman mind for Elijah that allows him to execute his ideas perfectly in spite of his handicap). To say that it was annoying how she tried to dissect each “superpower” with logic would be an understatement because every explanation seemed flawed and forced.
However, as with any M. Night Shyamalan film, there is always a hidden layer of subplot for every character’s action, which I will not give away. I will say though, that I do appreciate how the character could represent naysayers in society who would always repress the abilities of others so that the status quo would not be challenged.
In developing this series, Shyamalan successfully laid out the blueprint for the unveiling of Mr. Glass’ master plan as it effectively created a parallel for the development of comic book stories, which comic book fans will surely appreciate. With the main objective of the film centered on Glass and his character, the third film managed to establish and re-establish his connection with his fellow superhumans David and the Beast and how their fates ultimately intertwine.
Honestly, I was not a big fan of how the final showdown went down and felt that it lacked the bravado that the premise promised. However, there was a satisfaction to be had when each revelation is made about how the characters are more kindred in spirit that they ever could have expected.
All in all, Glass was a perfect antihero despite all of the evil things he has done to accomplish his goals, Shyamalan managed to create a character that had a twisted sense of humanity that audiences can still relate to which is kind of remarkable. The Unbreakable saga takes a while to tell its story, but after 19 years, it did manage to end with a solid conclusion that reconciles audiences with the characters and all that they represent. And that’s a thumbs up in my book.