“…the last 30 pages should have been removed and written by someone more competent.”
I went into Glass with low expectations. I’m of the mindset that this ‘shared universe’ is nothing more than a last-ditch attempt at relevancy for writer/director M. Night Shyamalan before the world forgets about him and his misdirecting ways. That being said I went into Glass ready to absolutely despise it, but that’s not exactly what happened.
The beginning of Glass solidifies my thesis that this universe that Shyamalan has had in mind since Unbreakable (his words, not mine) is actually just a cobbled-together mess that he threw out there just to keep his brand alive. The ‘connections’ that he makes between not only this movie and Split, but also this movie and Unbreakable are like little easter eggs that fans would find while scrubbing through a blu-ray copy of the movie. The only difference is there is no need to pore over every frame, because Shyamalan makes all of these instances abundantly clear.
Glass goes on to improve in my opinion, with Shyamalan actually doing something interesting with these characters that we all (vaguely) know and (kind of, I guess) love. The portion of the movie that takes place in the mental institution, the parts that were the main focus of the trailers, are actually really interesting. We get a lot of fascinating concepts, and James McAvoy is able to once again carry Shyamalan on his chiseled shoulders.
But then Glass does something strange. Almost as a reaction to everyone and their mother calling Unbreakable a superhero movie, Shyamalan seemingly takes a stand against the concept entirely. He breaks into these strange monologues doled out evenly among the characters but undeniably in his own voice. He attacks the concept of comic book movies and almost chastises the audience for being so blind. This part of the movie, which I will call the soapbox, is where he lost me.
Unbreakable is a superhero movie, and moreover Glass most definitely a superhero movie. Shyamalan’s rhetoric of superhero movies being dumb would have made sense in Unbreakable when his work existed on the fence, but with Glass there’s no denying that the effects-heavy, character-light mess that he churned out is identical (at least in theory) to the shit that Marvel and DC put out on a monthly basis; the shit that he spent about an hour putting down.
So with this superiority complex you would assume that Shyamalan actually had a point, right? Unfortunately you would be wrong. Despite him calling out comic book movies and going really meta in parts, Shyamalan falls into most of the traps that he sees as ‘less than’. The only difference is that he calls them out beforehand which in my opinion makes his failure more spectacular.
I could spend hours going into specifics about the story and why it doesn’t make much sense, but I think I’ll leave it at that. And don’t get me wrong, Glass was enjoyable for a good while. But as is tradition with Shyamalan scripts, the last 30 pages should have been removed and written by someone more competent.
I give Glass a C