Night Shyamalan has become something of a joke to moviegoers. After hitting it out of the park following his debut smash with Sixth Sense, he went back and scored a second hit with the loosely comic book inspired Unbreakable (although this critic did not like that movie), which gave us David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the virtually super strong and practically invulnerable man and his confidante-turned-surprise nemesis, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) who referred to himself as Mr. Glass, the super-genius who engineered the train accident that gave birth to David Dunn as the unbreakable man. Then, after a number of movies that were considered failures both critically and with audiences, Night returned with another surprising hit with his Blumhouse horror movie Split, about a man named Dennis (James McAvoy) who has 23 distinct personalities and is warning of the emergence of a new 24thpersonality that is both deadly and terrifying. This was also a movie that I did not look favorably on, but despite that it went on to score big in the box office as it delivered one of Night’s patented twists in bringing back Willis as David Dunn, making the case that those two movies take place in the same universe. Shortly after that Night announced that there would be a third film where this would all come together, that movie being Glass.
I freely admit that I went into this movie expecting to not like it, or at the very least, find myself disappointed by it, and for a time it looked like that would be the case. Despite the title being about the character of Elijah (Jackson, as well as Willis and McAvoy from Split have all returned for this movie), McAvoy is the real star here. Just as he was the shining element in Split, McAvoy shows what a brilliant actor he is as he switches through all of Kevin Wendell Crumb’s (the real name for McAvoy’s character) different personalities. While the bulk of his on screen time have him as The Beast, he does get to really exercise those acting muscles of his as we see him quite literally switch from one identity to the next in front of the camera. In fact his performance was so compelling that it could very well give people reason to think that there might be something indeed wrong with McAvoy with the way these other personalities come off as so fully realized. If acting were the sole thing that people should hang their hat on then McAvoy’s performance should be more than enough to see this movie. He is simply a genius here. Unfortunately the same cannot be said either Willis or Jackson. As David Dunn, Willis is pretty much there to serve as a foil for The Beast. “It” gets to shove a number of people around until David comes on to the scene to stop him, at which point it’s just strength vs. strength. As for Jackson, Glass is simply there to serve as basically a plot device. The way the story unfolds happens under his guiding hand. There really isn’t much of anything for Willis and Jackson to do in terms of acting except to react and interact with brilliant McAvoy.
The other element that makes this movie stand out is its story. The pacing is a bit uneven and takes some time before the real meat finally happens, but the wait is well worth it. There are some action sequences, but there is a narrative that is being told at the same time and that is when Night goes all “old-school” on the audience and starts to deliver those twists and surprises that he became famous for, only this time they almost happen in rapid fire. Yes, I said “they” for there is more than one, with each surprise delivering a slightly stronger punch than the previous twist. As those surprises arrive the truth of this movie really begins to unfold at which point it starts to become clear as to why this movie is called Glass.
Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, the strong performance of McAvoy and the movie’s intelligent writing created one of the biggest twists of all… After having seen, and not liked, both Unbreakable and Split, the biggest twist of all is that I genuinely liked Glass.
Glass receives 4 out of 5 shards of glass!!!
Glass opens nationwide Friday, January 18, 2019.
Special thanks to Fingerpaint Marketing for making this Press Screening possible.
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