Glass - C
This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the best films of the last 20 years, “The Sixth Sense,” and certainly filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s best film too, a feat he’s been unable to accomplish since then. He’s come close in recent years with thrillers “The Visit” and “Split,” and with “Glass,” he provides a sequel to the latter, as well as his 2000 hit “Unbreakable” and a dark ode to superheroes. The uneven, modestly entertaining “Glass” has some moments of greatness thanks mainly to the showy James McAvoy, who steals the show from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson (who’s remarkably quiet until the last act), but a sluggish first half keeps it from really soaring.
David Dunn (Willis, reprising his “Unbreakable” character) pursues Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy) superhuman persona of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters while the shadowy presence of Elijah Price (Jackson, also of “Unbreakable”) emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men. Holding them all captive for study is the mysterious psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who believes the men are superheroes only in their mind.
Written and directed by Shyamalan and a follow up to “Unbreakable” and “Split,” the sluggish “Glass” is by far the weakest of the three films (known officially as the Eastrail 177 Trilogy) in its pursuit to uncover the dark mysteries of what it really means to be a superhero, and the results are surprisingly underwhelming. The first hour is a bore, and it doesn’t start really cracking until the last act, and even then, any anticipated, explosive showdowns don’t really occur. McAvoy is still a treat as The Beast and the most memorable because he’s the only one of the three leads who really has fun here, as a disinterested Jackson and Willis both seem to be going through the motions.
Shyamalan(who, like Hitchcock, cameos in all of his films) has had a career resurgence in the last few years with edgier fare that reminds of his early days, but “Glass,” with a dense, overlong story that doesn’t say as much as it wants to, can’t be counted among his much-needed resurgence. While not as bad as “Lady in the Water” or “The Happening” it lacks the power punch of “Signs” and “Sixth Sense,” the latter of which he will forever be measured against. “Glass” isn’t terrible by any means, but it could’ve been much better, even super, but it never really gets off the ground.