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Movie Review: “Glass”


Release Date: January 18, 2019

Running Time: 129 mins

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: James McAvoy

              Samuel L. Jackson

              Sarah Paulson

              Bruce Willis

“Glass” is the third and final installment in controversial director M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero trilogy. Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “The Happening,” “Signs”) released the first film in this series, 2000’s “Unbreakable,” as a follow up to his 1999 critical and financial smash, “The Sixth Sense.” In the years following these two beloved films, Shyamalan’s career and reputation took one of the steepest dives of any director in history. At one point, people would see anything he made just because he was the one who made it. After a string of flops, people started to avoid anything he made just because he was the one who made it. This was such a problem that his name was purposefully left off promotional materials for 2013’s “After Earth” in an effort to get more people to come see it. These efforts failed spectacularly.

Shyamalan’s decade of failure seemed to end in 2016 with the release of “Split.” Not only was “Split” his best film in years, but it was also revealed to be an unexpected sequel to “Unbreakable.” Many were eager to see if Shyamalan could keep up the momentum and follow through on a satisfying conclusion.

I am overjoyed to say that Shyamalan does not disappoint with “Glass.” It is extremely difficult for me to get into why this film works without getting into the previous two. If you have not seen “Unbreakable” or “Split,” I will be spoiling major plot points from those films, so be warned.

At the end of “Unbreakable,” protagonist David Dunn (Bruce Willis) has discovered that he possesses superhuman strength. He also discovers that local comic book seller and sufferer of brittle bone disease, Elijah Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), is an evil genius who plotted to cause massive disasters, including a train crash of which Dunn is the sole survivor, in order to prove the existence of superheroes. Glass reasons that if an ultra-weak person like him can exist, then there must also be individuals on the other end of the spectrum, the superhuman. If a person can survive something like a train crash, then they must be a superhero.

“Split” tells the story of a disturbed man with multiple identities (James McAvoy). One of these identities is a crazed killer with superhuman strength.

“Glass” places all three of these characters in a hospital for the criminally insane. I will not reveal what happens after this point. I will say, though, the film reveals Elijah Glass as the central character of the entire trilogy. Glass is a genius and he is able to manipulate every other character in the film to do exactly what he intends for them to do. Jackson is clearly having a blast revisiting this character after almost two decades.

Despite Jackson’s stellar performance, James McAvoy still manages to steal the spotlight. McAvoy plays each one of his character’s personalities believably and he can go from charming to terrifying without warning.

Cinematographer, Mike Gioulakis infuses every frame of this film with a distinct color palette, engaging angles and pure aesthetic beauty even in the most mundane of settings. Composer James Newton Howard provides a score, which fits the film perfectly.

The clear standout of “Glass,” though, is M. Night Shyamalan himself as writer and director. He crafts a taut thriller with the same skill, which was long thought to be lost. He proves that “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable” were no flukes and that he still possesses the technical mastery he displayed in those films. A scene in which Elijah Glass wheels himself away as the camera follows while McAvoy’s character beats down on a pair of security guards stands out in particular.

I must admit, there are numerous plot holes in “Glass,” which I can see some people being too distracted by to enjoy the many enjoyable aspects the film has to offer. I, however, was able to forgive these oversights and appreciate Shyamalan’s long-awaited return to form and the intriguing deconstruction of the superhero genre, which this completed trilogy of films provides.

Drew Eckhart is a sophomore history and pre-law major from Edmond, OK. He has loved movies for as long as he can remember but thinks his passion really began when he watched “The Dark Knight” for the first time in theaters. His favorite type of movie blends comedy and drama seamlessly, and he loves great action films. In Drew’s free time, he enjoys reading and playing video games, as well as watching TV and movies. His favorite TV show is “BoJack Horseman” and his favorite movie is “Whiplash.”

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