Glass Review: Forced Connections

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When David Dunn appeared in a diner during the end credits scene for 2016’s Split, fanboys the world over got excited at the prospect of a connected M. Night Shyamalan universe.

Now that Glass is here, we’re not sure the worlds of The Horde and The Overseer fit together, despite the director’s best efforts to force them to.

Consequently what could have been an interesting take on the human psyche and the transformative nature of will power, is nothing more than a mediocre battle of good against evil, with a lacklustre ending.

So here’s why we didn’t enjoy Glass.

Building a universe

It’s unclear, to us anyway, why M. Night Shyamalan decided to use Split as an opportunity to create a shared universe for a couple of his movies. We really enjoyed 2000’s Unbreakable, as it had an interesting interpretation on the superhero genre, and played with the idea of good and evil in an intriguing way.

It also had one of the more memorable costumes for Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price / Mister Glass, and his penchant for purple.

Unbreakable also feels worlds apart from the story of Split, both stylistically and visually. Where Unbreakable introduced innovative storytelling angles, Split opted for the more familiar ones seen in horror films of the past.

As such it became very difficult for us to see a how James McAvoy’s multiple personality-touting, The Horde, would ever need to square off with Bruce Willis’ neighbourhood vigilante, The Overseer.

The result is that all the interactions in Glass seem forced.

Even the scene where all three main characters are sitting in a pink room (seen in the trailer at the end), and being psychoanalysed by Sarah Paulson’s Dr. Ellie Staple don’t quite make sense.

Where both Unbreakable and Split feature people who have embraced their superhuman gifts through sheer belief or force of will, Glass wants to tear them down as simply being mentally unfit, which feels rather lazy to us.

Hit and miss action

If you’re going to have these two characters fight one another, it opens up the opportunity for some truly amazing bouts. Sadly neither of the two times, in the opening and closing stanzas, that The Horde and The Overseer face off has any real sense of occasion about it.

If these are indeed meant to be superheroes capable of performing feats no other human can, the fights do little to prove it.

For those wanting action then, this is not the film for you. What we liked about the fight scenes in Unbreakable, particularly the one at the end, is the fact that it really fit in with how the tone of the film was shot – dark, unassuming and practical.

Glass really has none of that. As mentioned earlier it does not go to the other scale of the equation either and serve up grand scale fights, and falls limply somewhere in the middle. Also the CGI for The Horde, when he’s scaling walls in particular, is poor and quite easy to spot.

The trademark twist

We’re not going to give away the twist in Glass, but we will say there is one. Does it rank as highly as the ones in Sixth Sense or The Village? No. But it is certainly one of the better ones that Shyamalan has done of late.

Our only real issue with said twist, is the fact that it tries to open up the opportunity for more films in this universe.

One of the great things about past Shyamalan films is the fact that the twists not only took you by surprise, but also adding a nice finishing touch to the movie, and helped to add a bit of closure while still making the audience ponder about all the hints they missed during the film.

There’s none of that in Glass, and if you were hoping Shyamalan puts a nice neat bow on the final part of this pseudo trilogy, he doesn’t.

It’s for all the above reasons reason that Glass is so overwhelmingly disappointing. There are some bright spots, like the nods to things that happened in Unbreakable, along with the performances of Jackson and McAvoy, but these are not enough to save this superhero film.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.