I’ll start this review with a spoiler to a movie that came out almost three years ago. This will be the last spoiler you’ll see here. Here we go, the twist at the end of M. Night “Let’s Twist Again” Shyamalan’s “Split” revealed that his story of serial killer with twenty-three established personalities also had a twenty-fourth, a superhuman character known as The Beast. What’s more—because why settle for one twist when you can have two?—The Beast lives in the same universe as the 2000 film “Unbreakable.”
Shyamalan’s new film “Glass” acts as a sequel for both films, bringing together James McAvoy as “Split’s” Kevin Wendell Crumb and “Unbreakable” stars Bruce Willis as the heroic David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson’s mass murderer Elijah Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass.
Here’s the spoiler free synopsis: Dunn, the invulnerable security guard with the extrasensory ability to sense the crimes people have done by touching them, is hot on the heels of Crumb’s collection known as The Horde, looking to end his killing spree. “When I find the Horde,” Dunn says, “I’ll take a mental health day.”
Following a confrontation Crumb and Dunn psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) captures them, placing them in Ravenhill Memorial Pyschiatric Research Hospital, the same institution as Price. “It’s a place for people who think they are comic book characters,” says Hedwig, one of Crumb’s personalities. Convinced they all suffer from delusions of grandeur, her treatment involves convincing them that they are human, not superanything.
That’s all you get from me. Cue the plot twists.
I like a twist as much as the next person. I still remember having my head knocked back by movies like “The Crying Game” and Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” but can we now call a moratorium on multiple twists? Shyamalan has made a career out of subverting people’s expectations but there are more twists in the last twenty minutes of “Glass” than you can shake a Syd Field book at. In this case more is not more.
Leading up to the twist-o-rama is an examination of what would happen if we learned that superheroes are real. To accomplish this Shyamalan has Paulson’s good doctor spend a good portion of the running time trying to convince the superhero that there is nothing special about them. It’s less than dramatic. Worse, the film’s ideas on the existence of extraordinary beings (AGAIN, NO SPOILERS HERE) have been beaten to death in everything from the “X-Men” films to “Watchmen” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Despite a bit of fun from McAvoy’s ever shifting characters and Willis’s Gandalf / action hero robe “Glass” is a slog. Talky and meta, it’s being billed as a “film that took 19 years to make,” but doesn’t feel worth the wait.