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‘Glass’ falls flat, leaving viewers with more questions

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Nearly 20 years after M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero flick “Unbreakable” came to theaters and three years after the director’s surprise sequel “Split,” was released, “Glass” became the third installation of the Shyamalan hero universe.

With a trilogy spanning such a wide time range, Shyamalan fails to weave the films together cohesively in “Glass,” for it is impossible to mention its predecessors, “Unbreakable” and “Split.”

Kevin Winter

M. Night Shyamalan, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis and Sarah Paulson speak at a “Glass” panel on July 20, 2018, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California.

Seeing “Unbreakable” and “Split” is a must if you want to understand the movie’s characters and struggles.

If not, you are sure to find yourself scratching your head in confusion at the many flashbacks and underlying plotlines.

Jumping right into the film, Shyamalan introduces a new plot with the three main characters: Elijah Price, David Dunn and Kevin Wendell Crumb.

Giving no explanation as to who these men are or their backstories, the story is written with the assumption that the viewer has seen both “Unbreakable” and “Split.”

The last 30 minutes of the film are arguably the most thrilling, but even as fight scenes and even more backstory are revealed, the plotlines still are not coming together to form one cohesive story.

If anything, audiences are left even more confused, and it is not until the last 5 minutes of the film when can finally understand what is going on.

In classic Shyamalan fashion, the film comes with an unexpected ending, but it is mediocre, leaving the viewer not with a sense of “I didn’t see that coming,” and more of “That was it?”

All this being said, the movie had unexpected elements to give viewers who have seen the previous two films something to look at.

The overarching concept of an organization actively stopping superheroes from coming into the public eye is interesting, the idea being that this organization would either attempt to convince the heroes there is nothing special about them or eliminate them. This made for a colorful and mysterious dialogue between the three super humans in that they begin to doubt whether they are that super to begin with. This dialogue makes for more of a drama than a superhero action film.

Another great part of the film was seeing the amazing James McAvoy work his magic as Crumb.

Over 20 personalities are portrayed by McAvoy, and at the center of them all is the Beast — the superhuman personality with a feral side. McAvoy arguably gives a better performance in this film than in “Split” as he effortlessly flows from playing one character to the next.

Samuel L. Jackson is just as cunning and eccentric as he was during his first turn as he was 20 years ago, and his intelligence and master plan driving the plot leaves the viewer always guessing what comes next.

The one performance I found rather disappointing was Bruce Willis as Dunn.

Twenty years must have taken a toll on this superhuman because in this film, he seems tired and uninterested. Willis delivers his lines as if reading them from a notecard and does not see much action in the film — a let-down for those who were looking to see the unbreakable man do some damage.

Sarah Paulson was an excellent addition to the franchise and as usual did a wonderful job playing the role of the doctor who looks to break down the three main characters psychologically and make them question their abilities.

Overall, the film falls flat due to poor execution of what I thought to be an interesting story.

While there were some good performances, the only one that really stood out (and is the only reason I’d recommend seeing the film) was McAvoy’s.

A dull twist at the end of the film from a director known for surprise endings was disappointing, and a lack of background information given for those who may have not seen its two predecessors make the film a tough watch.

For those who have seen or plan on seeing “Unbreakable” and “Split,” “Glass” is not a terrible addition to the series. However, going into the theater with no prior knowledge of the first two films will leave you with more questions than answers.

Nick Rajakovich is a student at Pennsylvania State University. A movie buff, Nick is an avid reader of The Campus. This week, Nick is serving as a guest critic.

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1 Comment

One Response to “‘Glass’ falls flat, leaving viewers with more questions”

  1. Sarah Paulson on February 10th, 2019 6:21 pm

    A delight to read! 🙂

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‘Glass’ falls flat, leaving viewers with more questions