James McAvoy carries another Shyamalan film to adequacy
Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson
Two years after M. Night Shyamalan returned to commercial success with the surprise hit Split, Glass is the third in the trilogy that began with Unbreakable which was released back in 2000. Taking place weeks after the events of Split, Glass sees James McAvoy’s multiple personality persona back abducting a group of teenage girls, holding them hostage until The Beast arrives. David Dunn (Willis) is still on the vigilante warpath as his alter-ego The Overseer, and when he gets wind of The Horde’s (McAvoy) whereabouts, they have a brawl that leads them both getting arrested and sent to a psychiatric facility, where Mister Glass (Jackson) is already there waiting.
Here to ruin our superhero and villains comic book movie is logic and science in the form of Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple, who is trying to prove that they really aren’t superheroes, but are just normal people that have extenuating circumstances in their past that make them seem more than they really are. This leads to a big third-act tussle that would be so full of spoilers that I really can’t say anything about it specifically. However in broad strokes, they are stuffing ten pounds of ideas in a five pound bag.
1.) McAvoy the Savior: James McAvoy’s performance is stellar, just as good if not better than his work in Split. The idea of The Horde is more flushed out with the multiple personalities battling one another to take control of the light and giving The Beast more of a menace. The personality of The Beast is an actual character with dialogue, which at first I wasn’t really a fan of, but with this side of him being more in the forefront, it ultimately worked for me.
2.) Sounds of Silence: The sound design in this film and its use of silence is impeccable. I saw Glass at our local AMC Dolby theater, and I am a big fan of the use of silence to build organic suspense. The opening scene where Dunn goes into the home of two punk kids to hand them some old-fashioned justice uses silence effectively to build to the quick action sequence.
3.) Returning Character and a New Star: Anya Taylor-Joy returns as Casey Cooke and is a great supporting role to be the moral conscience for The Horde. She doesn’t need to be the focal point of the film because this is more centered around the three male leads, and doing just as well in her role is Sarah Paulson as Dr. Staple.
What Doesn’t Work
1.) He just can’t get out of his own way: If you somehow have never seen an M. Night Shyamalan film, he is known as being a director who likes using twists to conclude his films. Some are great (The Sixth Sense), some are okay (The Village), and Glass falls under the category of excess. There are three separate twists that conclude the film that could have made the conclusion a lot cleaner had it been reeled back. Some work better than others, and it seems like Shyamalan wanted to make sure he got it all in.
2.) Clean-up on aisle screenplay: It’s amazing that Shyamalan has such a veteran cast because they made a mediocre screenplay somewhat bearable. Cheesiest line of the film actually goes to Shyamalan himself and his interaction with Dunn at his security shop where they reminisce of where they knew each other from. Another pass at the editors would have done wonders for the overall movie. I am all for expositional screenwriting, but this laid it on thick.
McAvoy saves this movie from being borderline mediocre to watchable. All of the pieces fall into place, but the glue holding the film together couldn’t make this hodgepodge stick. While this by no means Shyamalan’s worst film, its promising start in the end falls flat. Final Grade: B-
What are your thoughts on Glass? Do you think this was a successful end to the Unbreakable trilogy? Follow me at http://instagram.com/moviebirb
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