I think this goes without saying, but spoilers are coming in hot, so maybe skip this review if you haven’t seen Slit or Glass yet.
Now that you’ve been warned, I’m going to just jump right into this.
First I’ll get into how I feel about the film and more importantly, the ending as it has become a giant divider between moviegoers and reviewers.
For the first 90 minutes of the film, I was loving it but then something happens. The film takes a turn in the last 20 minutes and we are thrown into a tailspin with plot twist after plot twist.
I won’t go into THAT plot twist just yet, as I don’t think I’m ready to talk about it yet. I’m still processing, trying to wrap my head around things. And to figure out if I liked what he did. I understand WHY he did it, I’m just not so sure I cared for it.
The thing about M. Night Shyamalan that became very clear early on was, he’s the kind of artist that needs to be kept in check. You let him run wild, you get Lady in the Water, his most self-indulgent piece of work yet.
He needs a leash to keep him in line or focused. He also seems to work better with budget restrictions, as when you give him a big budget, a large scale film, you get hot messes like the Last Airbender or After Earth.
He becomes an overwhelmed autistic child with too many distractions, not knowing what he needs to really focus on.
I think he’s more aware of his limitations now, currently getting saddled with Blumhouse, who specializes in high concept with low budgets. Kind of a perfect spot for Shyamalan.
Glass sets up this giant showdown towards the end, something you’d see in any Marvel superhero movie these days. But quickly abandons that to give you something a bit more low key.
This isn’t a spectacle like we’re used to these days. Even Logan had its big superhero moments.
The best way to describe Glass however, would be think the first season of Heroes but more down to earth.
That isn’t to say this film doesn’t feature action, it does, a ton of it. Especially if you compare it to Unbreakable, a film where the only action you got out of that movie was when Bruce Willis choked a guy once.
M. Night Shyamalan has done something kind of special here. He was able to create this superhero cinematic universe. Something DC is still struggling to figure out. He’s also managed to do this without it being based on a comic book, yet at the same time these films are love letters to comic books.
And I think that’s the difference, Marvel and DC, they make superhero movies, they don’t make comic book movies. Glass and especially Unbreakable are in my opinion not superhero movies but comic book movies.
Sarah Paulson’s character is literally named Staple. Like the thing between the comics, keeping them together. That actually makes more sense later on when you find out who she is and what her real purpose is.
It’s been a few weeks since the events of Split. If you need a refresher on events that happened in that movie, I’ll quickly break it down. James McAvoy plays a giant list of characters, so I won’t get into all of them, just know that a select few have started worshiping a personality called The Beast, who needs to feed on the innocent.
In Split, he has kidnapped several girls, offering them up to the Beast as sacrifices. The girls all die, leaving one survivor Casey. She feels this bond between them, seeing as she has also suffered at the hands of child abuse, much like Kevin Wendell Crumb, the true personality within The Hoard, they’ve started calling themselves.
The Beast gets away and we end with him planning to reveal himself to the world, hoping to start this awakening or revolution among the masses.
Now I guess I have to talk slightly a bit about Unbreakable, though just the cliff notes. David Dunn survives a train crash, which we later learn was a terrorist attack. Since he is the only survivor, he is soon contacted by Elijah, aka Mr. Glass.
He tells David that he thinks he is a superhero, a man with unbelievable strength. If someone like Elijah can be born with paper thing bones, who can shatter easily, breaking every bone in his body just from tripping, there has to be someone his opposite. Someone unbreakable.
Now this theme actually comes into play for Glass.
We then learn that Elijah was the one who blew up the train. He’s been doing this for a long time, searching for his rival to reveal himself. That’s right, Elijah is a supervillain.
Now, almost 20 years later, David has fully embraced his powers, becoming a vigilante known as The Overseer. He now runs a security firm with his son Joseph, it also acts as their bat cave where they can fight crime together.
Joseph acts as overwatch to David, leading him to where he needs to be to either find the criminal or avoid the cops.
His main target currently is The Beast, as he has been kidnapping young girls, killing them. He has just taken a group of cheerleaders and has them prepared for The Beast to feast on that night.
David also has another ability aside from being invulnerable, he can also see other’s misdeeds if he touches them. Making it a handy little power to have when searching for criminals.
While out on the prowl, he bumps into Hedwig, the child personality inside The Hoard aka Kevin Wendell Crumb. He sees a vision of where the girls are being held, tasking his son with tracking down the location.
As Dunn finds and frees the cheerleaders, The Beast arrives.
The Beast and the rest of the Hoard are so pissed off that Dunn has equal strength to them. The Hoard venerates in The Beast’s own strength so when Dunn out matches him, it instantly pisses them all off to the nth degree.
Dunn’s only real weakness was revealed in Unbreakable to be water. So it goes without saying he’d want to stay away from things like pools, puddles…. And obviously you’d want o maybe not do your crime fighting when it’s pouring down rain outside.
Well, he wears a poncho, so I guess he’ll be fine.
The Beast gets Dunn is his patented squeeze bear hug move, trying to crush him from behind, but since Dunn is just as strong as he is, they go crashing out a window, into the rain.
As the battle is about to continue, the police arrive, flashing lights to switch The Beast back into a docile personality. Dr. Stable is there leading the police, telling Dunn he can probably get away but would have to hurt a lot of people to do it. Plus she calls him by name, revealing she already knows who he is.
He decides to surrender willingly.
The two are taken to an insane asylum where their cells have been decked out to specialize in their containment.
The Beast has light triggers that go off when he approaches, switching personalities. Dunn has his room sealed by a steel door and high pressure water sensors rigged to go off if he gets too unruly.
In this hospital there is one other person he sees himself as a superhero, and that’s Mr. Glass. He’s been in this medicated coma like state, bound to a wheelchair.
For a good portion of the film all you get out of Glass are some twitches here and there. He never says anything, just speaks with a look here or there.
Dr. Staple’s job is to convince these three that they aren’t special, they don’t have superpowers like in the comic books. When she has them all in the same room together the look on Samuel L. Jackson’s face is great. She has managed to talk some sense into the other, getting them to question their abilities, but not Glass. He has this look on his face like, bitch please.
To safeguard the facility from Glass, they surrounded the hospital with cameras to keep track of him. If he gets out of his room, which apparently he does often, they’ll spot him.
Of course Elijah uses that to his advantage, sneaking out when he pleases, and then erasing the footage afterwards.
Meanwhile, Dunn’s son Joseph is trying his best to convince Dr. Staple to let his father go.
Also after hearing about The Beast’s capture, Casey shows up to try and talk to Kevin, the true alter lost in The Hoard. The two connect, almost giving off this stockholm syndrome vibe.
She is able to get to him, but it’s too much for the other personalities, so he is quickly shoved aside and hidden away.
Elijah’s mother also returns, but she’s wearing some really terrible old age makeup. It looks so bad that I thought maybe she was possibly someone is disguise or something. It’s that terrible looking.
The film’s cinematography is by the guy who did It Follows, so there’s a lot of shakycam with a lot of closeup shots of people. Whenever Elijah’s mother was on screen, there was always at least one shot of a closeup on her bad makeup, making things unnecessarily distracting.
Not getting convinced by Staple that superheroes don’t exist, Glass sets a plan into motion.
Every night Glass has been sneaking out, using one of his outings to confront The Beast, wanting to see him in person to assets if he isn’t just some crazy person.
Once fully convinced of The Beast’s strength, the plan goes into full throttle. But changes once he reads Kevin’s bio. Now this was actually set up or at least hinted at in Split. You see The Hoard laying down flowers in a train station before he finally transforms into The Beast.
A lot theorized that his father actually died on the same train Dunn was on. The one Glass derailed.
And yes, our theories were right.
Glass was the cause of not only Dunn but also The Beast.
So we’ll be getting deep into spoiler territory now.
Glass and Dunn’s son come to the same realization of how they’re all connected.
Glass has more of an epiphany, realizing that his true superpower isn’t just how smart he is, but that he has the ability to create superheroes.
Glass has set up this big event to happen, promising The Beast his time to shine in front of millions, by attacking the grand opening of new skyscraper.
He taunts Dunn that he needs to stop them or a lot of people are going to die.
Dunn finally starts to believe in himself once again and knocks down the steel door keeping him imprisoned.
Dr. Staple calls in reinforcements to help contain their breakout, shuffling the other mental patients away from the windows.
Glass leads The Beast outside where he takes on the security force trying to stop them.
Dunn finally shows up to finish he fight with The Beast but it is interrupted by Joseph, David’s son. He spills the beans on Glass’s connection to Kevin’s past.
The Beast thanks him for creating him, but still has to kill him, punch Mr. Glass in the chest, knocking him to the ground where he dies with a smile.
The Beast continues his fight with Dunn, knocking him into the water tank used for his prison cell.
With Dunn out of the picture, The Beast heads off to the skyscraper, only to get confronted once again by Casey, who turns him back into Kevin.
With his guard down, Dr. Staple orders a sniper to take him out, shooting him in the gut. On the wrist of this sniper, we see a tattoo of a black three leaf clover.
The police then drag Dunn to a puddle and drown him, but not before he touches Dr. Staple’s hand, revealing who she really is.
They belong to a group that goes after heroes good or bad. Once a superhero emerges, another also appears to counter it. If these people start believing they have powers, it could spell disaster. A world with people who have superpowers.
Her job is to suppress that knowledge.
But remember Glass’s new found superpower, to create superheroes.
All of this was setup from the beginning. He never had any intention to go to that skyscraper. He purposely made it so they took the long way out of the facility, giving the hospital to call in reinforcements.
He needed to put on a show for all the security cameras Dr. Staple set up everywhere, capturing the whole ordeal.
Before escaping, Glass rigged it so the security camera footage was streaming to an unknown source, that source being his mom’s old ass computer.
Together with Casey and Joseph, they set the truth upon the world, awakening all those hidden superheroes to their abilities. Creating superheroes.
The more I thought about that ending the more I kind of enjoyed it. Sure, I was kind of just expecting a throw down match between Bruce Willis’ character and James McAvoy’s character. We did get that but we got something else as well.
This wasn’t the final show down we were promised but another origin story. How superheroes came to be.
I liked the whole idea of maybe they weren’t people with superpowers. Maybe they convinced themselves of this delusion that it just simply became real.
A good portion of the film does take place in that hospital, trying to convince these three of that very concept. She explains away everything we saw in Unbreakable and Split. And for a bit you start to think, well, maybe so.
Maybe they are just normal people that have convinced themselves they’re something they aren’t. But even if that’s true, does that make them even less of a hero or villain?
I feel that ending would have been too much of a copout. Nah, they aren’t really superheroes, just crazy people.
At one point I thought maybe they were setting up Casey and Joseph as future superheroes. But a reversal, with Casey being good and Joseph turning evil. Something you most likely would see in a Marvel movie.
The ending Shyamalan went with wasn’t the easy one. He could have given you what you expected and you most likely would have been complacent with it. Deeming it your standard superhero fare. But he took a chance, did something you wouldn’t expect. That also meant killing everyone off, but I doubt he did this not knowing it would divide a lot of viewers.
You don’t nonchalantly kill off a main character and not think of the ramifications of that. I’m not saying he was trolling us or anything, but he clearly knew what he was doing with that ending.
Like Kathy Bates in Misery, it might have not of been the ending you wanted but it’s what you got.
After some reflecting, I’ve come to the conclusion that I liked the ending. It took a while to get me there, but I get it now. I see what he was going for and a appreciate Shyamalan not I guess conforming to superhero movie norms.
I give Glass a SEE IT rating. James McAvoy is of course fantastic once again, playing all 20 so different personalities. Bruce Willis… well, he tries at least. Which more than I can say for the last 10 or so straight to video movies he’s made.
But his stoic attitude slightly works in his favor this time around.
I can’t wait to own the inevitable boxset of all three films.
Next week it’s finally my Best and Worst list of 2018. I don’t want to give too much away but a lot of the films nominated for Oscars pops up on my worst list.
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