By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
In 2000, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan released Unbreakable, his ode to comic book heroes and villains to moderate critical approval, but just couldn’t reach the amount of audiences needed to continue his story. After several years, his film woukd develop a huge cult following and in 2016, the director surprised audiences with a gripping, but deceptive film titled Split. Not until the very end of this tense thriller did Shyamalan reveal that Split is actually a continuation of Unbreakable, but that he now finally had plans to complete a trilogy. So now in 2019, the third installment of Night’s series is now in theaters. Glass brings everything full circle with all three main characters in the fold. Though the film is often compelling, thrilling and quite entertaining, it just doesn’t quite achieve the level of greatness its predecessors does.
Set after events of Split, Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), aka “The Horde,” remains free and has just abducted his latest trio of girls. Unbreakable hero David Dunne (Bruce Willis) now owns a home security company which he runs with his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark. They also moonlight, protecting innocent victims from mostly violent crimes. After hearing about the attrocities committed by The Horde, Dunn works constantly to stop him before he kills again. Meanwhile, Elijah Price, aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) remains tightly locked up in an asylum. When Dunn’s eventual confrontation of The Horde brings everyone together, Mr. Glass gets inspired to hatch a new plan.
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Glass delivers suspense, thrills and some great call backs to the previous films, but gets a little messy with its surprises in the final act. As a fan of both Unbreakable and Split, I definitely enjoyed revisiting the themes of the series and was mostly pleased with how Shyamalan incorporates them in this latest installment. I did grow somewhat annoyed with Mr. Glass’s constant exposition of how the events and beats compare to comic books. Though this technique gets used moderately and deliberately in Unbreakable, Shyamalan insists on having Price do this way too much in this film.
On the positive end, the entire cast gives tremendous performances with McAvoy obviously stealing the show often with his extraordinary acting as a man with loads of personalities. Bruce Willis, once again, gives a subtle and understated performance as David Dunn, a man whose abilities allow him to become a nearly invincible superhero. Samuel L. Jackson comfortably slips into hisd reprisal of Elijah Price, and does so with much conviction. The movie also features fantastic work by Sarah Paulson, who portrays psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple, Anya Taylor-Joy, who reprises her Split character of Casey Cooke, and Spencer Treat Clark who returns as Joseph Dunn.
So after all is said and done, Glass makes for a riveting, but uneven conclusion to M. Night Shyamalan’s trilogy. I feel that the die hard fans of the series will be mostly satisfied, but casual fans, or those who don’t like the previous films will not care much for this latest entry. Either way, it can be truly stated that no one makes comic book inspired movies like this anymore.