GLASS Review: Best Comic Book Film (of 2003) | Inverse
Glass Review: The Most Brilliant Superhero Movie of 2003 from when M. Night Shyamalan as the man. This is the long-awaited superhero film and sequel to Unbreakable and Split. It all goes up, up, and away into mediocrity, outshone by the very genre it's trying to subvert.
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In theaters on January 18, Glass is the final installment of the “Eastrail 177” trilogy (yes, that’s the actual title) that begins with 2000’s Unbreakable and continues through 2017’s Split.
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Almost twenty years after Unbreakable, David Dunn (Bruce Willis) patrols Philadelphia as a super-powered vigilante in a poncho, existing as a popular conspiracy theory on the internet. Meanwhile, Kevin Wendell Crumb (James MacAvoy) — an individual whose multiple identity disorder harbors a very powerful, very dangerous ego called “The Beast” — has been wreaking havoc. It isn’t long until the two cross paths, and that’s when the fun stops.
'Glass,' directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
During their big battle, which plays more like an episode of Arrow on The CW than a bonafide Shyamalan thriller, Dr. Ellie Staple (Paulson) steps in to apprehend them both. From there, they become patients in a mental hospita where the enigmatic Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) awaits with a plan.
That’s where the majority of Glass takes place: In and out of a hospital where characters have ridiculous conversations about how silly comic books are and that they aren’t real. (Wow, no shit). But as if the bad opening wasn’t enough to doom the movie, it’s through Shyamalan’s misguided thesis of superheroes that the, ahem, cracks in Glass begin to show.
Throughout Glass, Shyamalan believes in superheroes, a decision that poisons his sublime Unbreakable. His original film didn’t posit the question “Are superheroes real?” but “Can we make them?” Jackson’s Mr. Glass/Elijah was the ultimate evil fanboy, so obsessed with the medium he found solace (born out of his own insecurities and self-pity due to his condition) in doing everything to make them real. In Glass, however, there isn’t even a question. Superheroes are real, and Elijah wants to prove it to the world. His ultimate goal is to go viral.
Unbreakable was, and remains, great because it was a cerebral, atmospheric thriller with the mask of a superhero. Glass is the other way around, a watered down superhero movie pretending to be something deeper, and it consequently zaps away the mystique that once empowered this series.
Mystique is also zapped away from Split. While McAvoy put on an performer’s master class in that film opposite a revelatory Anya Taylor-Joy (who returns in this movie with little to do), his talent is wasted in Glass. His “Beast,” an inhuman animal that acts on instinct, now… talks. And Shyamalan — I guess, because, “realism” — does nothing to change McAvoy’s voice. The result is a bare-chested McAvoy grunting like Christian Bale’s Batman (I will not buy for one second if Shyamalan says it was an homage) in front of a stone-faced Sam Jackson. You wonder what Shyamalan is trying to do here exactly.
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