Set just three weeks after the events of 2017’s Split, director M. Night Shyamalan concludes his supernatural trilogy of films (Unbreakable and Split) with Glass. James McAvoy’s Beast, Patricia, Hedwig or maybe it’s Barry is up to his old tricks and he’s being hunted by David Dunn (Bruce Willis), known as The Overseer, a poncho wearing seemingly indestructible vigilante who’s been keeping the good people of Philadelphia safe.
The pair promptly find themselves patients of psychiatrist Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) in Raven Hill Memorial Hospital as she uses science and fact to prove that they’re not actually superhuman but just regular people. Samuel L Jackson’s Mr Glass is already a resident of the asylum and he completes the not so holy trilogy. As the plot thickens so too does the web of lies, conspiracy and deception.
Glass shatters the screen with an excellent opening and an interesting climax, but the film shows cracks throughout the often-pedestrian middle section. Too much screen time is wasted on Dr Staples and her monotonous reasoning which means not enough time is devoted to Willis or Jackson, both of whom are on top form. Indeed, the good doctor is arguably the lead character which is a strange choice because we’ve only just met her and the incompetent bunch of goons she’s hired as her security team raises questions about her own sanity.
James McAvoy steals the show as he slips effortlessly between a plethora of characters managing to convey numerous emotions in a split-second. It’s a fantastic performance and one that succeeds in achieving a sense of sympathy amidst the mayhem of murder and mutilation.
Being an M. Night Shyamalan film there are the usual surprises in store as he uses comic books for his inspiration, whether it’s a childhood trauma or the desire to keep a secret identity, but some of the reveals don’t quite have the intended impact due to moments of clunky dialogue. He still knows how to ratchet up the tension, however, and even some of the calmer dialogue scenes have an underlying sense of anxiety to them.
The weakest of the Eastrail 177 trilogy, but held together by three excellent performances from the leading men, particularly McAvoy, Glass won’t break any records and could’ve been so much more. As Hedwig would say, “This movie was ok, you know, it was only ok. Etcetera.”
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