By Bradley Lane
Glass is the 19 years in the making sequel to the 2000 film, Unbreakable, both of which are directed by M. Night Shyamalan and star Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Both of whom reprise their roles in Glass, but are now joined by James McAvoy’s Kevin Crumb, whom was introduced in 2016’s surprise Unbreakable tie-in, Split. After setting up the narrative dominos in the previous two films, Shyamalan had to deliver a story worth waiting for in Glass. Unfortunately, he fumbles pieces of the story that worked previously and completely dismisses elements of the original story, which culminates in a film sure to leave audiences disappointed.
The film takes place 19 years after David Dunn, Bruce Willis’s character, survived that train crash in Unbreakable. He now works as a security contractor with his son Joseph by day, while committing vigilante justice at night. David and Kevin’s paths meet as David tracks down a group of girls that Kevin abducted. While attempting to apprehend Kevin, David and Kevin both get caught by the police and transported to the same mental institution as Elijah Glass, Unbreakable’s antagonist. There, they are introduced to a doctor who is convinced their powers are mental projections, putting into question their entire identities.
One of Glass’s biggest constraints lies in its budget. Made for just $20 million dollars, less than a third of what Unbreakable was made for, it cuts corners in the most frustrating ways possible. The “unbelievable” action the audience is being led to believe by the film’s characters is larger than life, looks fake at best and hilarious at its worst. Constantly, the camera angles hide or obscure the action as a way to get around their budgetary constraints. Normally I would not have a problem with this, as it is just a crafty way of telling a big story without the resources required to produce a big budget blockbuster. However, when the spectacle of the action is as central to the plot as it is in Glass, then it becomes an issue.
Additionally, it is clear while watching Glass that Bruce Willis did not want to do this film. He is hardly present and when he is, it is a completely phoned in performance. However, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy do their best to read Shyamalan’s horrible dialogue convincingly. McAvoy in particular has to portray multiple personalities each with their own mannerisms, speech patterns and behavioral ticks. Just like in Split, he gives an acting masterclass and is pretty much the only reason to see Glass.
A clunky and inconsistent plot is taken way too seriously in Glass and ultimately fails its goal of serving as a subversion or commentary on modern superhero films.