Movie Review: “Glass”
A deranged man who kidnapped and killed a bunch of girls is still at large, and David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is on the hunt to find him. When he eventually finds the man responsible, he discovers the man, named Kevin (James McAvoy), suffers from dissociative identity disorder, and that one of his many personalities is superhuman. Unfortunately, David Dunn is not the only one looking for Kevin. Authorities are on his trail, and plan on apprehending David Dunn as well.
Once captured, David Dunn and Kevin are sent to the same mental institution that currently holds the criminal mastermind Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). Each of the men are contained in a room that is specifically equipped to contain them, and they are all under the supervision of Doctor Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). The doctor specializes in a mental disorder in which people believe they have superhuman abilities. What is her mission? To treat David, Kevin, and Elijah to make them come to terms with the reality that none of them possess superhuman abilities and that everything they have experienced can be explained scientifically. What the doctor does not anticipate is what could happen if Elijah manipulates Kevin’s animalistic personality, known as The Beast. If that happens, and Ellie Staple is wrong about her theory, David Dunn may be the only one capable of stopping them.
The Pros & Cons
David Dunn (+6pts)
Stockholm Syndrome (-3pts)
James McAvoy (+10pts)
Ellie Staple (-4pts)
Mr. Glass (+8pts)
The Ending (-4pts)
Pro: David Dunn (+6pts)
I liked David Dunn’s story in Unbreakable, and I thought his story in Glass was a great continuation. In Unbreakable, he slowly came to grips with the idea that he has superhuman abilities and, in Glass, he is forced to challenge that idea. On top of his inner struggle, he must also go head-to-head with his greatest challenge yet in The Beast. I found this character’s story to be pretty interesting, but there was more to like about David Dunn.
It was also just a lot of fun to see Bruce Willis back in this role. I liked seeing David’s relationship with his now adult son, I liked seeing David taking in the role of a hero, and I liked seeing his faith in his abilities tested after having finally coming to terms with them in the last movie. Is the character the most charismatic? No, but Bruce Willis had a great screen presence, gave the movie a heavy dose of nostalgia by revisiting David Dunn, and I liked what the filmmakers did with the character.
Con: Stockholm Syndrome (-3pts)
Now, I liked Anya Taylor-Joy’s character in Split, but I thought she felt out-of-place in this movie. It did not feel like the character naturally fit into this story, but the filmmakers wanted Kevin to have a connection with another character from a previous movie (like David and Elijah had with their son and mother, respectively). The filmmakers clearly wanted to have a character that cared about Kevin, but I did not think it made any sense to make Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy’s character) be that character. The character clearly has a case of Stockholm Syndrome, which made it hard to root for the character’s motivations.
Maybe the filmmakers could have found another way to get Anya Taylor-Joy in this movie. If they had, you would not see any complaints from me. I thought the actress did a decent enough job in this movie, just like she did in Split. My complaint is just with respect to how the filmmakers used the character, as it just did not work for me. It felt icky, unnecessary, and unjustified.
Pro: James McAvoy (+10pts)
I am sure this will come as no surprise to anyone who saw Split, but James McAvoy was massively entertaining and massively impressive in Glass. His character suffers from disassociative identity disorder and has twenty four personalities in his mind. Split was able to get several of these personalities into the movie, but Glass easily doubled (possibly even tripled that, I definitely could not keep track of them all). They do this by having a night nurse flash the hypnotic lights a bunch of times, which forces new personalities into “the light” (this is how Kevin’s personalities refer to which personality is in control of Kevin’s body).
I cannot imagine the process that went into keeping all of these characters straight, but James McAvoy did a fantastic job of making each personality feel like a different character. From his voice, to his posture, to his facial expressions, James McAvoy forces you (the viewer) to see a completely different character every time he switches personalities. We get plenty of new personalities, but get to see the fan favorites of Patricia, Hedwig, Dennis, and The Beast once again. Do some of the other twenty personalities blur together? Yes, that is why it was so hard for me to keep track of just how many were in this movie, but it was incredibly entertaining to watch James McAvoy doing his thing.
Con: Ellie Staple (-4pts)
Sarah Paulson is always great, but I just could not get behind this character. Ellie Staple would have been far more effective if she were a part of Unbreakable or Split, but I do not think she worked effectively in Glass. In Unbreakable, she would have been an effective obstacle in David’s journey towards realizing his superhuman capabilities and she would have been effective in making the audience doubt the legitimacy of Elijah’s claims. In Split, she could have served a similarly effective role as a counterpart to the claims of Kevin’s psychiatrist.
Unfortunately, with Glass audience members who have seen the last two movies will have seen the superhuman capabilities of these characters, so will not have the doubt that the filmmakers were going for by adding Ellie Staple’s character into the mix. Furthermore, the precautions she takes with the patient’s rooms do not make any sense. Why rig David’s room up to fill with water (David’s weakness) if she did not think he had superhuman strength? Similarly, why have the flashing lights for Kevin (which is a dumb security measure because he could simply block his eyes)? On paper, the character may not have been a bad idea, but she never fooled the audience, and her strategy did not make any sense.
Pro: Mr. Glass (+8pts)
I am going to keep this brief to avoid spoilers, but I really enjoyed seeing Elijah Price executing his plan. People forget that, in Unbreakable, Mr. Glass was the antagonist, but that was a surprise twist at the end. In other words, he was the antagonist, but spent most of the movie pretending not to be. In Glass, it was really entertaining to see the guy as a full-fledged villain, but I still found myself rooting for him (to an extent). We know how difficult of a life Elijah has had, so we sympathize with him. On top of that, it was a lot of fun to Samuel L. Jackson in the role, and it was a lot of fun to see Elijah outsmarting everyone.
Con: The Ending (-4pts)
My problem with the ending is not the same problem that a lot of people had. I thought the movie gave a fitting conclusion to Kevin’s story and I thought that the yin-yang relationship between David and Elijah made the ending symbolic. Additionally, you know this is an M. Night Shamalan movie, and you know that the guy loves going in directions that audiences do not expect. The guy also likes keeping the tone of his movies dark. I thought the ending of the story made sense for the writer-director’s style and it made sense for the stories of each of the main characters.
My problem was not with what happened, my problem was with how it happened. I did not think M. Night Shamalan had earned this finish. I do not want to say exactly what went down or how, but the filmmakers had never setup the how. My only clue to those who have seen the movie is “clover”. The filmmakers just never set the “clover” up in any way. It was an entirely new thing, which made the ending feel super random, and somewhat anti-climactic. The story builds and builds towards one thing, then delivers something entirely different, which made it hard to be invested in it. Again, I thought what happened made sense for each character’s story, but I do not think the writer had earned this particular method of making it happen.
Grade: B+ (88pts)
Glass was one of my most anticipated movies of this year. I liked Unbreakable, and I thought Split was great, so I was naturally looking forward to this one. We get the returns of Bruce Willis as David Dunn, Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, and James McAvoy as Kevin Crumb. It was a great cast playing iconic characters. Each performance was strong, and the characters were a lot of fun to watch, but it was James McAvoy that was the obvious standout. Take nothing away from the other two actors, but James McAvoy was just incredibly impressive and incredibly entertaining.
The movie got a lot of backlash regarding its ending, but I was okay with the direction that the filmmakers went in, to an extent. I thought the conclusion made sense for the three main characters, but I did not think M. Night Shamalan had earned this particular method for making that conclusion happen. The ending just felt anti-climactic and like it came out of nowhere. Additionally, Sarah Paulson’s character did not work for me, and I did not understand the need in bringing Anya Taylor-Joy’s character back in this manner (as she felt very out-of-place). I had a lot of fun in this movie, but it did have a few characters that did not work, and it ended in a pretty random way that felt like an anti-climactic let down.