M. Night Shyamalan is without a doubt an interesting director. While I think that he made more bad movies than good ones, I have great respect for him. He directs and writes his own movies and also makes cameos in them. I can quite remember watching The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs thinking that he is a great director and decided to watch the rest of his movies, but I think that it was during Lady in the Water, when I said to myself: “This is just stupid”. But I had no idea what was coming next, his next three movies (excluding Devil) were unimaginably awful (The Last Airbender still is one of the worst movies I have ever seen). After Earth was a last straw for me and The Visit didn’t really change my opinion on him. In 2016 Split came out and from the reactions I have heard this was a really good movie, so I decided to watch it in cinema and to my surprise it was actually really good. Maybe M. Night finally returned back and started to make great movies again. Split was such a pleasant surprise for me, there were characters that I liked and cared about, James McAvoy’s performance was amazing and fun and perhaps most importantly the twist didn’t make my eyes roll back. Speaking about the big twist, Split was a secret sequel to Unbreakable (the best M. Night movie). In 2017, M. Night announced that his next movie is going to be Glass a sequel to Split and Unbreakable, which will conclude a trilogy (The Eastrail 177 trilogy). I wasn’t particularity excited for Glass for multiple reasons: it’s the third movie in trilogy and they have bad habit not being the best, Bruce Willis looks and acts like he doesn’t care and most importantly Split and Unbreakable are very different types of movies and their combination might not even work. On January 17th 2019 I went to see Glass and sadly all my suspicions turned out to be correct.
Plot summary and some positive aspects
In case you haven’t seen Split and Unbreakable, I would advise not to read this review, because I’m going to spoil both movies and you should watch them, they are pretty great. The story is set three months after the events of Split and Kevin Wendell Crumb/Beast (played once again by James McAvoy), kidnaps another group of girl, but David Dunn/The Overseer (Bruce Willis) with the help of his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) is searching for him. After their confrontation they are arrested by the police and transferred to a mental institution led by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who seeks to convince them that they are not superhuman beings. Also Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is there for some reason. As far as performances goes James McAvoy is once again amazing and is really trying to make the movie work, Spencer Treat Clark is serviceable as Joseph Dunn and I have to say that casting the same actor as in Unbreakable was a good decision and that’s about it, I’ll get to the other actors in the next part. If you are unaware cinematographer for this movie is the same as in Split, his name is Mike Gioulakis and he is very talented. His previous movies were, of course Split and It Follows a horror movie I would very much recommend. So, Glass looks pretty great and I have to applaud M. Night for bringing Mike Gioulakis back.
It all makes sense now
Before I start talking why this movie is a failure, I would like to say that I didn’t wish to be it one. I would be happy to announce that Glass is a great movie and M. Night has returned to greatness, but it looks like Split was just a glimmer to older M. Night. I was wondering why Glass is such a massive train wreck and then I found out that parts of the story of Split was written back when M. Night made some of his best movies around 2000, a massive piece of the puzzle suddenly made everything clear. So, that’s why Glass is so poorly written in comparison to Split and Unbreakable.
A part from James McAvoy and Spencer Treat Clark, everyone else in Glass was awful. Which leads me to one question: “What happened to Bruce Willis?” Bruce Willis was once a great actor, now he looks bored, uninterested and in Glass his performance was extremely wooden. While it was better than the rest of direct to DVD movies, it was still wooden. Worst thing about it was, that there are multiple scenes from Unbreakable featuring David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and it is night and day. Sarah Paulson was awful, I did not believe anything she said, Anya Taylor-Joy from Split didn’t have anything to work with and the same goes for Charlayne Woodard from Unbreakable. Glass is of course named after the main antagonist Elijah Price/Mr. Glass played once again by Samuel L. Jackson and there are some scenes where Mr. Glass works well, but there are scenes where he almost on the level of bad parody. During the end he falls down from his chair and breaks some of his bones and it is hilarious.
M. Night is an awful screenwriter
I honestly think M. Night is a terrible screenwriter, he wasn’t always like that but it’s now apparent more then ever, while I wrote that I have respect for him that he writes his own movies. He can not write dialogues, he can not write interesting characters, plot is absent of logic or continuity and his famous twists are getting more and more predictable or just for sake having a twist, and movies where aren’t any big twists (The Last Airbender and After Earth) it is somehow even worse. Glass tries to have a big twist in the end I could see it from a mile away. Another example of awful writing is how “smart” Elijah Price/Mr. Glass is, so everyone else is extremely dumb, staff of the facility leaves the door open to him, one staff watches the surveillance and also takes care of the patients, another staff arrives late to work (night shift) so nobody watches these three potentially dangerous individuals. Similarly to Unbreakable there are references to comic books and movies but unlike Unbreakable they feel dated like: “Superhero movies end with a climax on the top of a tall building” like this is now consider to be cliché even amongst fans of superhero movies, that would have some meaning seven years ago. There is also a message about superhero acceptance into normal society and their oppression, but X-Men movies did it much better, even the not so great X-Men: Last Stand has a more complex message than Glass. So, to end this rant about M. Night, I would suggest get co-writer or new script supervisor.
Glass had a decent budget of 20 million dollars, so why it looks so cheap? Then I looked at the cast and it was clear. Majority of the budget probably sunk into cast and their payments. That is why there are a surprisingly few extras and why does facility looks like there are five rooms in total.
Glass has a potential to be a great movie and The Eastrail 177 trilogy could be one of the better trilogies that exist. But M. Night Shyamalan completely ruined any potential Glass could have with his incompetent writing. I give this movie 2 or 3 /10.
Until than keep watching Split and Unbreakable!