M. Night Shyamalan lets his ambition get the better of him, as his latest vanity project Glass fails to reach its potential.
Following the events of Unbreakable and Split, comes the culmination of Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass, Bruce Willis’ David Dunn, and James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb. With all three locked in a mental hospital, mysterious Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) tries to explain to them why they are no more than human. But all hell breaks loose when they inevitably escape their cells.
Split worked and is one of the best thrillers released over the last couple of years because it was smart yet simple, claustrophobic, and of course had a tremendous performance from James McAvoy; it showed signs that the promise M. Night Shyamalan showed early in his career was not totally lost. However, with Glass, while James McAvoy once again wets my sheets with his performance, the whole premise ends on an underwhelming note. A fast and exciting opening turns into a long and tediously slow middle act, only for the film to fool itself into believing it is more profound than it actually is. Messages of “Everyone can be a superhero” or “believe in your abilities” are not something I’m looking forward to when seeing this kind of film. Give me action, fights, excitement, epic moments, something. For a second, you believe the climax will happen on top of America’s “tallest new” building, Osaka Tower in Philadelphia, instead we get a half-assed fight in a parking lot. Sigh.
When Samuel L. Jackson is finally allowed to do more than twitch his eye, he delivers as the scheming, manipulating, genius Mr. Glass. Bruce Willis puts in his typical tough guy, rough-edged performance but with a little extra passion than in some of his other recent work. Glass does boast strong camerawork, with POV shots used to spice up fight sequences, however Split, like in any other regard, did a better job. As he’s known to do, M. Night Shyamalan’s writing flops between borderline genius to cheesy TV-like dialogue in a matter of seconds throughout the film. Anya Taylor-Joy returns as Casey from Split, and while she does fine, her character feels forced into the story because of her importance in Split; there surely was a better way to weave her into the story other than making her a semi-love interest (or at least it feels that way in how her relationship with Kevin is portrayed). And my final gripe, the sudden emergence of this clover-tattooed swat gang that barges in during the climax. It’s not explained who these people are, I’m assuming they’re from one of M. Night’s other films, but either way I left with no clue or understanding.
Glass had obvious potential but does not continue the success of Split and once again puts M. Night Shyamalan’s ability, specifically at writing, into question. Glass is an unfortunate waste of interesting characters and at the end of day, can’t help but feel pretentious for ever being made in the first place. 5.5/10