So, I went to see Glass recently and, in all honesty, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. When a movie like this comes out, especially with M. Night Shyamalan at the helm, pretty much anything could happen. Unbreakable was a decent enough movie, Split was better (in my mind), and so Glass could very well have been the cherry on top of the cake, or a soulless cash grab. I’m going to start off with a spoiler-free review, followed by a spoiler-ridden review. So, if you haven’t seen Glass yet, you can still get an idea of what it’s like.
So, what can I say about Glass without spoiling anything? Well, unlike many sequels that have brought back characters from decade-old movies, Glass does an excellent job of not making it feel forced. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Jurassic World, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, or Blade Runner, most movies have to shove the old characters down your throat, usually through some ridiculous situation that leads to them appearing. There is no heart!
Glass has heart and stays true to all the characters we’ve been introduced to in previous movies: David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his son have the sort of relationship you would expect. You don’t feel like you’re watching some silly comic book movie, as for the most part, Glass feels semi-realistic. You find yourself imagining this world and concluding that this is how these characters would behave. David Dunn isn’t as young as he once was, something that the movie plays on.
Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) grew up relying on his mother and having been “defeated” by David Dunn in Unbreakable, the situation we find him in is completely expected. I enjoyed seeing the character on the screen again and seeing his mind at work was one of the excellent aspects of Glass.
Keven Wendell Crumb may have only joined us in Split, but James McAvoy shows us once again that his acting ability is incredible. I worried that they’d tone the character(s) down a bit for Glass, but the exact opposite was true. I felt like the movie offered us a deeper insight into the life and mind of not just Kevin, but actually all of the main characters.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the fact that Glass managed to be a cliched comic book movie without feeling like it was part of the same franchise as Marvel or DC. I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie that I’d already watched a thousand times (which is saying something since I actually love Marvel and Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy).
OK, so you’ve been warned. From this point on I am going to be sharing my views on almost exclusively spoilers.
For a large part of this movie, I was worried. In the back of my mind (and actually what I’d mentioned in an article I wrote for a different site) I knew that with this being an M. Night Shyamalan movie, there was no way that Glass would end in the manner you’d expect.
I would like to personally thank M. Night Shyamalan for not being afraid to take an unorthodox approach to his ending (perhaps something that can always be said about him). I’ve longed for a superhero movie that breaks free from the formula that we see 5-6 times a year from other franchises. Again, I say that as a fan of Marvel, but their movies are repetitive as fuck!
Glass spent a large section of its run-time leading us to believe that Mr. Glass and Kevin/The Beast would be teaming up to take down David Dunn in a public place. One funny thing I noticed related to the magazine that Mr. Glass had that showed the tower. On the front page it stated “A True Marvel” which is clearly a nod to Marvel and this being a true version of it. By the time audiences realize that there isn’t going to be a big boss battle at this random-ass tower (perhaps another nod to Marvel as it’s basically how Avengers Assemble ends), it’s too late. As soon as the camera pans in on that 3-leaf clover, it’s all over.
The big reveal is that DR. Ellie Staple (played by American Horror Story’s Sarah Paulson) is actually part of this ancient society that not only knows of the existence of these super-human individuals but tracks them down. If they can’t convince you that you’re “normal” then they have no choice but to kill you. This society isn’t evil by any means. As DR. Staple says to David Dunn: they were going to leave him alone because he didn’t have a nemesis to fight. It wasn’t until The Horde showed up that they realized the potential death and destruction a fight between the two could cause. This 3-leaf clover organization just wants to avoid what we see so often in superhero movies: collateral damage. Just look at Batman V Superman or Captain America: Civil War, where a similar issue is raised.
The Uniqueness of Glass
So, why did I enjoy Glass so much? I love the idea that people in this movie aren’t inherently evil. Nobody is a villain for the sake of being a villain and all the characters are likeable. You watch the movie kind of hoping that everyone wins. Let’s consider the main characters:
David Dunn is your typical good guy. He’s a vigilante who just wants to protect and avenge the common people. He isn’t looking for fame or glory, in fact he prefers to stick to the shadows. His backstory isn’t ridden with tragedy, but he did hit a few bumps along the way, such as nearly drowning/being drowned, crashing his car, and surviving a train crash where everybody else died.
Mr. Glass is a different story. Is he the bad guy? Of course, but consider why that’s the case. He was born with brittle bone disease and suffered frequent breaks from day-to-day tasks. He grew up living a sheltered life where his only coping strategy was comic books, which suggested to him that if he breaks easily, there must be others at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Sure, Mr. Glass crashes a train and causes a pile-up on a highway. He murders a lot of people and for that he is the villain…but he was doing it to reveal a hero, to bring a superhuman into the spotlight. His methods may have been a bit reckless, but his mission wasn’t to kill hundreds of people, it was to discover the one who survived.
Kevin Wendell Crumb is undoubtedly a victim. I don’t want to view each of his other personalities individually, although that would give the best representation of his character, but he suffered a traumatic past. As we learn in both Split and Glass, his mother abused him. She was mentally ill with DID and just as his father sought help, he died in the train crash that Mr. Glass had caused. The very same train that David Dunn survived.
Many of Kevin’s other personalities simply wanted the world to know that they exist. Even ‘The Beast’, who is certainly the villain of The Horde, has a certain sense of just purpose. Yes, he also kills people (and violently) but only because he is the product of suffering. To him, only the pure can survive and you’re only pure if you’ve suffered.
Dr. Staple and her band of not-so-merry men aren’t evil. They may seem a little twisted and it was annoying that they murdered all the main characters, but they were in the right. They simply wanted to avoid the destruction and chaos that would have inevitably been caused if The Horde and David had had a showdown that Avengers Tower, or whatever the tower was called.
So, overall, I think that Glass was an incredibly refreshing take on a rather milked genre. I was incredibly happy to be able to watch a superhero movie without being able to guess how it will end. The entire cast were excellent, and I must commend M. Night Shyamalan once again for creating something that felt unique. I’m not always a fan of his twists because sometimes they are just ridiculous and unnecessary. When your gimmick is being unpredictable, you ultimately become predictable.
I had just recently watch Unbreakable and Split in preparation for this movie, but I’m already looking forward to watching all episodes of this trilogy back to back.
Thanks for reading! Have you seen Glass? What did you think? Let me know down below!
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