Glass Shatters Superhero Standards
By Kevin Rueda
M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the conclusion to his Eastrail 177 trilogy, which includes “Unbreakable” and the 2017 thriller “Split.” The film’s mainstream audience is likely accustomed to superhero films like December’s “Aquaman” or 2018’s billion-dollar blockbuster “Avengers: Infinity War,” but Shyamalan’s “Glass” presents a much darker twist on standard tropes within superhero films.
“Glass” features David Dunn, also known as The Overseer (Bruce Willis), who was the main protagonist of the 2000 “Unbreakable” film. As the movie’s title suggests, Dunn is seemingly unbreakable and has superhuman strength, durability, and stamina. Dunn was the sole survivor of the Eastrail 177 train disaster and a fatal car accident, both of which he survived without any visible injuries. In addition, David Dunn has the ability to see the crimes people have committed by simply touching them. The film also features Kevin Wendell Crumb, also known as The Horde (James McAvoy) who was the main antagonist of the 2017 movie “Split.” As a result of childhood trauma, Crumb’s body splits into 24 distinct personalities, including The Beast who is hyper aggressive and has superhuman speed, strength, and agility. The last of the superhumans is Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson). Price is an extremely intelligent supervillain and mass murderer with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta that causes his bones to break and tear easily.
Unlike “Split,” which was standalone from “Unbreakable,” “Glass” is a direct sequel to both films. Many moviegoers are likely to miss specific references or previous character developments. However, “Glass” does a good job of recapping the previous films by re-introducing the abilities of each character and pointing out important plot lines from the previous films. “Glass” is certainly more enjoyable for viewers who know the context of the previous two films, but it is also enjoyable by itself.
The film opens up with David Dunn and his son Joseph Dunn (Spencer Treat Clark) tracking down four cheerleaders who were abducted by The Horde. After an initial battle between Dunn and The Beast, the two are apprehended and sent to a mental institution where Elijah Price is being held. The superhumans meet Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), whose assignment is to convince the trio that they are normal people and that their “superpowers” are just a part of their delusions. The film follows Price’s attempt to expose the existence of superhumans to the world through the manipulation of Dunn, Crumb, Staple, and the institution.
“Glass” debuted with a $40 million opening weekend and toppled the box office for three consecutive weekends amounting to over $200 million worldwide. Critics and reviews for the movie have been split. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 36% on their expert Tomatometer, but audiences gave the film a 76% audience score. The film currently has a 7/10 on IMDb.
“Glass” is certainly an interesting interpretation of superheroes and superpowers. Modern-day superhero films are often straightforward, predictable, and action-oriented, but “Glass” is dramatic, suspenseful, and full of plot twists. With that being said, the end product is slightly underwhelming and lackluster. “Glass” is enjoyable for both longtime fans of the Eastrail 177 universe or newcomers, but it does not live up to the prestige of its predecessors.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Screenplay By: M. Night Shyamalan
Release Date: January 18. 2019
Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson
Duration: 2 hours 9 minutes