It’s hard to imagine you’re going to understand much of M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass without first having seen Unbreakable, made back in the year 2000, and Split, from 2016. But, then, you should probably just watch both of those anyway—Unbreakable is Shyamalan at his filmmaking height, a look at what it would be like for a super hero to exist in the real world; and Split is a dandy thriller.
Glass finds the characters we know from those movies stuck inside a psychiatric hospital, after Bruce Willis’s hero from Unbreakable tries to apprehend James McAvoy’s super villain from Split and they’re both captured by a doctor who wants to prove to the men that they have no powers, only delusions of grandeur. Of course, this is the same hospital that’s been holding Samuel L. Jackson’s villain, Mr. Glass, for the past 19 years, so now we have all three of our super characters locked together.
Shyamalan certainly wants to upend the super hero genre, and as a result there’s a whole lot of talking, and not a whole lot of being super, happening through most of the movie, although this is not a problem: It’s consistently engaging, if a bit dour, and McAvoy is especially delightful as he flits through all 23 of his character’s personalities.
But Shyamalan always has big things on his mind, and boy, do we get there. The last section of the movie will, without a doubt, alienate a lot of its audience. It’s not exactly what you would call “satisfying.” But I’m not sure whether Shyamalan misses in his execution, or if his entire intent is to take the super hero genre to the back alley and shoot it.
I admit I found some of this a bit distasteful, and some of it way overbaked, but it certainly didn’t ruin Glass for me. M. Night Shyamalan is a skilled director, and if we know anything about him, it’s that he does things his own way.