Simple Review: The Last Glass-bender
Here is a simple question: Has there ever been a more frustrating filmmaker than M. Night Shyamalan? At his best, we have seen excellent films like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Split but that same mind delivered the cinematic poop ( yes I said poop) like The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth! How is that possible? It would be like Billy Shakespeare following up Macbeth, Hamlet, and Othello with the Twilight books. ( yes, I had to look those up and no, I am not comparing him with M. Night just making a silly point!) When Split was released in 2016, I had low expectations and was pleasantly surprised by that movie, especially James McAvoy, who made that movie with his performance. With the little twist at the end connecting Split with Unbreakable, I was cautiously excited to see what Glass could deliver. So, did Glass end the trilogy on a high note, or did it shatter and cover the floor as we ran away from Hans Gruber’s goons cutting our feet, leaving us bleeding and hiding in a bathroom at Nakatomi Tower? ( Not bad, right?) There is only one way to find out, my friend, read on!
Glass tries to conclude the Unbreakable trilogy, which we didn’t know was a trilogy, by bringing the three main characters together in a high-security mental institution as a psychiatrist tries to cure them of these delusions of being superheroes. Believe me, as daft as that sentence read, the movie is even more absurd. As most of you know, M. Night like his twists and Glass does contain them, albeit painfully obvious ones, so I am going to be as spoiler free as I can in the review. Not an easy task, but you know I am always up to the challenge. You have probably guessed by now, but I am not a fan of this movie, which is a shame as I loved Unbreakable and Split, but Glass is simply a mess of a film. There are a few things the movie does right, very few, and in my quest to be a positive light in this dark, negative world wide web I shall begin with the positives Glass brings us.
Thank the maker for James McAvoy! He is the only redeeming part of this movie, as he is the only one actually acting and his performance keeps this movie on life support. Every time he is on screen the movie is infinitely better with one noticeable exception, the beast character, and no not Pauline, Vladislav’s ex-girlfriend. ( if you get that reference you and I are now best friends) Not that he wasn’t intimidating as the beast, but what made that work in Split was that the beast was not seen until late in the movie and briefly enough as to not seem silly. Here he is given too much screen time and let’s just say it is a character best used sparingly. Sorry, I am trying to stay positive yet I am already dipping my toe in the river of negativity. Aside from that nitpick, McAvoy is THE best part of the movie and the only cast member worth mentioning. I have to say McAvoy seems like a cool guy to hang out with at a bar, especially after one or two adult beverages.
I am going to give credit where credit is do, as M. Night does craft a good looking film. He uses color palettes exceptionally well in this movie conveying mood and atmosphere throughout the runtime. He lets parts of the story unfold on the screen, which you know I am a fan of, with my favorite being the beast battling security guards in the background as we wheel away with Mr. Glass. He does this again as characters watch the action through windows in the mental institution which puts you right in the scene as you are now an audience with the characters in the movie. While he uses different camera tricks in the movie one of the things he has always been excellent at is the quiet moments in a movie. M. Night knows how to let an emotional scene breath in quiet moments to draw you in and I wish he would have kept the film smaller so we could have had more of those moments.
That is enough of being nice to Glass, let’s smash this one to pieces! Let’s start with the cast members not named James McAvoy. Bruce Willis continues to sleepwalk through his roles and collect his paycheck. In his defense, his character, David Dunn, is given next to nothing to do in this movie and the resolution of his character is one of the worst I have ever seen. Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t fare much better as most of the movie he is catatonic, wink wink, and apparently, his character knows everything about everything. In Unbreakable, Elijah Price was a criminal mastermind but he wasn’t omnipotent which grounded the character. In this one, he knows things that would be impossible to know when you are locked in a mental institute for 18 years. Sarah Paulson and Anya Taylor-Joy are criminally wasted and M. Night should be forced to apologize for making these talented actresses dull and lifeless.
Now for the formidable challenge of negatively reviewing Glass, the plot. There is a ton I could write but I do not want to give away any of the twists the movie throws at you. These twists, however, you will see coming from a mile away and instead of surprising you, they will simply have you uttering “really?”. The final revelation of a characters real reason for being in the movie, as well as Mr. Glass’ plan, had my eyes rolling so far back in my head I could see my bald spot and was suddenly depressed. Curse you M.Night, curse you! There are so many conveniences and coincidences that the writing just comes off as lazy, despite the movie trying to be smarter than you. It’s not. If you haven’t seen the other two movies in a while, don’t worry you will be told time and time again about what happened and why these characters are the way they are. Over and over and over again, like M. Night was trying to pad out the script much like a certain movie review blogger you love. ( Damn, my secret is revealed!) I am going to stop now as I am afraid I will give something away to those who want to see this movie but watch out for the most unsecure maximum security mental institution in the world and the only police force in the United States that doesn’t like to shoot their guns! ( Hey OHHH)
I will say M. Night missed a golden opportunity for a wholly original movie by having the psychiatrist that specializes in helping people who think they are superheroes simply wander around comic cons handing out her card and giving free sessions to us nerds. The stories that could have been explored in that movie would be infinitely more entertaining than the movie he gave us. Oh well, a guy can dream, right?
To end the rambling review, I do not recommend seeing Glass in the theater, or on T.V., or on your phone, or anywhere you may accidentally see this film. James McAvoy is great, but the rest of the movie is honestly just bad. I was extremely disappointed and any goodwill M. Night built back up with Split has been erased. Maybe he needs to stick with smaller movies with few characters, that seems to be when he does his best work.
If you agree or disagree please let me know I’d love to hear your opinions on this one. If you could be so kind as to like, follow and share I would be eternally grateful!
As always, thanks for your time!
The Movie Psycho