- M. Night Shyamalan
- Run Time
- 2 hours and 1 minute
VP Content Ratings
- Sex & Nudity
- Star Rating
Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.
Although I cannot say I fully understand M. Night Shyamalan’s trilogy (in case you don’t pay attention to films and comic books, Glass is the culmination of 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s Split.), I find it fascinating—and I am neither a horror film nor a comic book fan. If you have not seen the previous two films, I urge you to watch them first in order to understand what he seems to be saying in this final film of the trilogy in regard to ourselves and super heroes.
In the first film David Dunn (Bruce Willis) survives without a scratch a terrible train wreck and through comic book seller Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) discovers that he is a superhero possessed of unusual powers—great strength and the ability to touch a person and see if they will commit some great evil. Elijah, on the other hand, is physically the opposite of David, from birth so fragile that his bones break at the slightest pressure. Now bound to a wheelchair, he calls himself Mr. Glass and has been lashing back at the world by causing disasters, such as David’s train wreck, in order to discover someone who is the opposite of himself. He is the super villain who now believes that he has found the perfect super hero adversary, just like in his beloved comic book world.
The second film is about the girl Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), and the multi-personality (24 of them!) Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy). Casey is the only one of four girls to survive a kidnapping by Kevin. During the course of the film the personality known as Barry is being treated by psychiatrist Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who unfortunately does not survive Crumb/The Horde’s violent wrath. (The Horde is the worst of Kevin’s 24 personalities.)
Most of the action of Glass takes place at Raven Hill Memorial Psychiatric Hospital where Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) has been treating Elijah Price for many years. David Dunn, aided by his now grown son Joseph, has become the vigilante night-time protector of Phildalphia, dubbed “The Overseer. When he tracks down Kevin/The Horde holding four teenage cheer leaders captive, their fight is so intense that it emerges from the warehouse into the street. There a special police taskforce led by Dr. Staple, manage to capture him and David. Now she has all three in custody. She attempts to convince each of them that they do not have true supernatural powers. She uses a machine equipped with powerful strobe lights that force Kevin to change personalities when commanded.
Also on hand are Casey, Elijah’s elderly mother Mrs. Price (Charlayne Woodard) and David’s grown son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark). There are several twists in the plot, one of which reveals that Dr. Staple is more than just a psychiatrist out to dispel the idea of the existence of super heroes. And just when it seems that tragedy and defeat are engulfing David, a new twist suggests otherwise, with the whole world learning what has transpired in the dark recesses of Raven Hill.
Whereas all superhero stories require a suspension of belief for us to accept the fantasy of a universe filled with persons possessing superpowers, Shyamalan stretches this to the breaking point. And worst of all, his films lack the humor of the Marvel Comics, humor that tells us not to take all this nonsense too seriously. The exploits of superheroes are just the fantasies of adolescents made visible.
The main reason for seeing this film is to behold James McAvoy’s marvelous acting as one bizarre character after another gains control over his mind and body. Take him out of the film, and there would be little worth watching. Well, maybe the idea of The Beast’s that only those who have suffered are pure, is intriguing, but it needs to be embedded in a better story. I can well understand why viewers might want to watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, but not this one.
This review will be in the March issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.