Directed by M. Night Shyamalan | Written by M. Night Shyamalan
Unbreakable (2000) was a film that blended the thriller and superhero genres masterfully. Since that film M. Night Shyamalan has had hits, but mostly misses, at the box office. Then in 2016, he surprised many with his film Split. The ending of that film bridged Unbreakable to the events that unfold in Glass. Bruce Willis reprises his role as David Dunn, a man with superhuman strength and toughness. Samuel L Jackson is back as the evil mastermind, Mr. Glass. James McAvoy gets to display great acting range with much more personalities than he got to do in the previous film, Split, as the Horde. Other characters from the two previous films are on board to include Spencer Treat Clark, Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlayne Woodard. With one sole writer and a limited budget it’s easy to come up short.
Here come the spoilers.
The film starts with an eerie reminder of who the Horde is. James McAvoy does a superb job displaying the mannerisms and distinct character traits of the various personalities. A quick jump and we are thrust into what David Dunn has been up to all these years since the events in Unbreakable. He and his now grown son are working together to fight crime and are tracking the Horde. Dunn eventually crosses paths with the Horde and ends up freeing the captive girls but, in his fight with the Beast, ends up getting captured by police and sent to a mental institution. The same institution that Mr. Glass is being held at.
Next, the film goes very slow to prove the idea that superheroes can be explained and that it’s a mental delusion that is making them believe they are superheroes and villains. Dr. Staple, played as monotonous as it can get by Sarah Paulson, runs a series of tests and sessions with the three in an attempt to convince them they are delusional. Of course it doesn’t work and it isn’t long before all three escape. Before I go further let me address some serious issues with the film at this point. One: the security at this place is ridiculous. The staff cannot see what’s going on in the room before using a magnetic key card to open a door. Two: Toilets? Three: Why would you put pictures in Mr. Glass’s room with glass in the frames? Okay, moving on.
Mr. Glass seemingly has a plan to escape. He let all three of them collide at the Osaka Tower in the city to show the whole world that superheroes and villains exist. Yet they end up in a showdown in front of the institution building. I feel a 20 million dollar budget is at fault for this. Split had a budget of 9 million and went on to make 278 million dollars at the box office. So why not bump up the budget for Glass? Shame. Just 10 million more could have resulted in a far superior film.
Here is what I would have done to improve this film. What should have occurred is that all three make it to the Osaka Tower and have their climatic fight. Fire sprinklers get activated which weaken Dunn and he is almost beaten by the Beast. Dunn’s son rushes in to reveal to the Beast that Mr. Glass killed his father when the train derailed years ago. The Beast goes to Glass and injures him, but before he can kill him the girl intervenes and brings out Kevin’s personality. Dr. Staple shows up and brushes by Dunn who can see she is working for a secret society. She then starts to disclose that their plans to reveal heroes and villains to the world is going to fail because she (and the secret society she works for) has already flooded the news that this attack is an act of terrorism and nobody will ever know they existed. Glass starts to laugh loudly and reveals he is wearing a body-cam, streaming pictures from the hospital to everyone on the internet. Dr. Staple tells him nobody will believe this but Glass looks at her and says, ‘You think this is fake news? No. This is our reality and now everyone will believe superheroes and supervillains exist. This was never a limited edition. This is an original story.’ He then pushes a button and the building explodes. News footage details the aftermath. New stories of more people with superhuman abilities start to come in.
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