Let me make one thing clear from the beginning, if you are expecting to see a Marvel or DC type of superhero movie, you are going to be very disappointed. This is more of a psychological thriller masquerading as a superhero flick. It’s not about big action sequences, costumes made of spandex and good conquering evil but is a much more gritty and realistic interpretation of superheroes, and super-villains too for that matter.
Glass is the final installment in what is collectively know as the ‘Eastrail 177 Trilogy’, also consisting of Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2017), that’s a bit of a mouthful I know. For the last two years, ever since watching Split, I have been counting down the days until this film was released and I would love to say that director M. Night Shyamalan saved the best ’til last but unfortunately that’s not the case. Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this film but it did not hold the same magic that Split did, although considering McAvoy is one of my favourite actors, I may be slightly biased.
Although a firm timeline was not established , the film appears to take place not long after the events of Split, and a group of cheerleaders are the latest victims in a series of kidnappings/murders. David Dunn aka ‘The Overseer’ (Bruce Willis) is using his supernatural abilities in an attempt to save the girls and find the man who took them.
Thanks largely, to the fact that the viewers have already been introduced to the main characters and their back stories established, the plot moves quickly and it’s not too long before Dunn finds his target, ‘The Beast’ (James McAvoy). However, their big fight is cut short as the authorities and new player, Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), arrive to break up the party. Staple is a psychiatrist who specialises in a particular type of delusion of grandeur, those who believe themselves to be superheroes and/or have supernatural abilities, and her purpose is to try and cure her patients of their delusions.
What follows, in essence, is pretty stereotypical ; we have a battle of wits, a team-up, an eventual break out and the inevitable ‘showdown’. Now, while we may have seen all this before, it’s the delivery of the story and Shyamalan’s trademark twists that sets Glass apart from all the other superhero movies we may be familiar with.
Considering this trilogy was almost twenty years in the making, it is a really nice touch to have all the original actors reprising their roles, including Spencer Treat Clark (David’s son, Joseph), who was only twelve when he played the role in Unbreakable.
As the reluctant hero, Bruce Willis did as Bruce Willis does. His performance was solid and reliable but not really anything to write home about. That’s not to say it was disappointing, it was just typical Bruce Willis.
Now Mr. Glass may be the titular character but the main focus of the story is on ‘The Overseer’ and ‘The Beast’; and that is exactly how Glass wants it to be. He is the mastermind, the man behind the curtain, the puppeteer and Samuel L. Jackson plays it perfectly with a powerfully understated performance.
McAvoy steals the show as Kevin and the many, many other personalities residing in his body. McAvoy plays each one distinctly and it is awe-inspiring and somewhat terrifying too watch him transition from one personality to another. There is one scene late on in the third act, that showcases this particularly well. While I do not feel that McAvoy will get much recognition in the way of awards and accolades, credit needs to be given where credit is due, and his performance in this film is something to behold. But as I have said, I may be slightly biased.
Now matter how absurd and unrealistic some comic book movies may be, that is what we know and love and so, we accept it. We roll with the punches because that’s what the superhero genre is all about. One of the most intriguing things about Glass is that it puts doubt into your mind, you can’t deny the logic of the Dr’s arguments but you want to because, deep down, we all want to be superheroes. In the end though, it is as much about belief as it is abilities and that is something that we can all take away and try to live by.
There is also a beautiful use of colour throughout, compelling camera work and more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, but overall, this is a decent end to a trilogy twenty years in the making, and a definite must see. As always, don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself and let me know what you think.