By Zach Hester
With the shock hit of Split in 2016, it seemed that suspenseful revolutionary M. Night Shyamalan was back in the form that earned him the same praise he received for 1999’s The Sixth Sense and this film’s prequel, Unbreakable. As the described “Eastrail 177 Trilogy” comes to a close in Glass, I entered the theater wondering if the ferocity of Split would take the driver’s seat once again. Unfortunately, my wondering was wrong.
Glass picks up just three weeks after the events of its 2016 prequel with Kevin Wendell Crumb, also known as The Horde, grappling with Unbreakable’s unlikely and unintentional hero, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), now known as The Overseer. When both are captured and transferred to Raven Hill Memorial, a psychiatric hospital headed by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), they find that Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) has been waiting for this perfect moment to finally strike.
The thrill and excitement of what Glass could bring into play was more appealing that the actual events that we saw in the film. The first and third acts of the movie were exactly what I needed from the team-up of Shyamalan’s earlier two works in this trilogy, but the middle act left me worrying that I was about to nod off.
Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance or rather, performances of James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb…and Dennis, Patricia, The Beast, Hedwig, et cetera. Just like in Split, McAvoy brings his A-Game to the many personalities of The Horde and executes each one with a precision that isn’t closely rivaled by any other member of the cast.
The returning Unbreakable characters David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Mr. Glass/Elijah Price just seem to float along this storyline with very little to do. Mr. Glass is portrayed in a fairly hammy manner by Jackson, whose intimidating nature flies off the rails here. Despite his importance in moving the plot of the story, Mr. Glass seems to be more of a semi-omniscient narrator who pokes in from time to time to remind you of the not-so-subtle parallels to modern comic book storylines in the film. Bruce Willis does his best as Dunn, who isn’t given very much to do outside of the first act, but ultimately, his time on-screen feels flat to me.
Despite a rather boring middle act, Glass is a good, not great conclusion to the nearly two-decade trilogy of films. McAvoy’s performance along with the editing seem to be the standouts, but I don’t believe that’s enough to overcome the rest. The movie isn’t anywhere near perfect, but the signature Shyamalan twist provides something of a satisfying end.