M. Night Shyamalan brings together the narratives of Split and Unbreakable for this third film in his own slanted superhero universe. In his review, critic Tony Stamp says you’ve got to roll with the frustrations and strangeness to get to the genuinely entertaining stuff.
For a lot of Glass’s runtime you can feel M. Night Shyamalan messing with you. It’s there in the way he keeps defying expectations, muting things that should feel special until they feel mundane. Super-powered altercations are staged on dreary days in the blandest possible settings. He finds ways to film action so that it’s mostly obscured. It’s going to prove frustrating for many viewers.
AND YET, there’s a lot to like here. For one, he gets a fine performance out of one Mr Willis (although he has a bit less screen time than you might expect). Likewise Sam Jackson and Sarah Paulson (natch), and McAvoy… well, if you found him annoying in Split this is more of the same, really. If you’re onboard, he’s bloody entertaining.
Another tick in the plus column: much of the film crackles with the energy of a fine thriller, albeit one containing ludicrous dialogue about comic books. Shyamalan knows how to keep you hooked, throwing out the odd red herring and threatening a whopping twisteroonie. Is there a Shyamalan Twist™ ? I ain’t saying.
The main thing to savour is what a downright weird dude the director is, and how it bleeds into the movie. Glass is really strange. It’s intentionally frustrating, makes you keep wondering where it’s all going, and has some very odd humour speckled throughout. Clips from Unbreakable pop up now and then (which unfortunately highlights how much better the earlier film looks), but M. Night expects you to go into this one already familiar with the two preceding films in his raggedy-ass super-trilogy.
The once-acclaimed director has taken a third pop at deconstructing superheroes, and tripped over his own feet sometime before the finish. But watching him tumble across the line is thoroughly enjoyable in its own right.