It’s rare for a drama to actually provide compelling drama nowadays. So going into 'Glass', I was anxious and curious to see what writer-director M. Night Shyamalan would create in the third instalment of his off-the-wall superhero trilogy.
'Glass' brings together the two quirky, unconventional superheroes from 'Unbreakable and Split', two of the most well-received films in Shyamalan’s otherwise polarising filmography.
Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), who we were introduced to in 'Split', suffers from a severe case of multiple personality disorder.
Seemingly the most dominant personality, 'The Beast', essentially plays the role of the lead superhero among Crumb’s dynamic collection of personalities. He’s aggressive, he’s angry, and he’s a killer.
David Dunn (Bruce Willis) runs a security company and spends much of his time fighting crime.
David’s son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), helps him run the company and also assists him in his crime-fighting operations. Together, they set out to track down the rampant The Beast and put an end to his reign of terror in Philadelphia.
When they finally track him down in an abandoned warehouse where he’s holding a group of girls hostage, a brawl ensues. The showdown ends when Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) and a police unit arrive on the scene. Both Crumb and Dunn are arrested.
They are detained at Raven Hill Memorial, a maximum security psychiatric institution. There, they are treated by Dr Staple, a psychiatrist, who’s essentially assigned to convince people who believe they are superheroes, that they aren’t.
This same institution houses Elijah Price aka Mr Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), a wheelchair-bound delude who’s been locked up here since he was apprehended at the end of Unbreakable.
Unbeknown to us, Elijah quietly uses this opportunity to plot the execution of his ultimate mission: to finally reveal to the world that superheroes do exist.
Elijah’s plot is inspired by his belief that supernatural beings have always existed and that comic book characters were influenced by real-life characters and events of the past.
Jackson’s role as Elijah is compelling.
Glass begins to meander at this point.
To aid her mission of “curing” the three men, Dr Staple seeks counsel from Joseph, Elijah’s mother (Charlayne Woodard) and from Casey Cook (Anya Taylor-Joy), who survived a torturous encounter with The Beast in Split.
Throughout, it’s difficult to tell which direction the film is headed. Despite the ambiguity in how the plot plays out, you’re left on the edge of your seat, eager to see what curve-ball Shyamalan is preparing to hurl in our direction.
Despite its flaws, Shyamalan does well to create a superhero movie unlike anything we’ve seen before.
It’s weird, it’s daring and it’s different, which is why it works.