Glass is the final part of M. Night Shyamalan’s “superhero” trilogy and was preceeded by 2016’s Split and 2000 Unbreakable. The central plot revolves around three “ordinary” men who each believe they have special abilities thus making them superheroes.
In Glass, Bruce Willis’s David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (from Unbreakable) and James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb (from Split) are brought together and incarcerated at Raven Hill Memorial Psychiatric Hospital under the supervision of psychologist Dr. Ellie Staple played by Sarah Paulson. It is Dr. Staple’s mission to convince them that they suffer from delusions of grandeur.
While the pacing through the midway mark of the film could’ve been sharper and more dynamic Shyamalan presents a moral tale of good versus evil or, true to comic tropes, hero versus villain. In doing so he crams a lot of story into one film. Though this film may be premised on comic books and can, perhaps cautiously, be placed in the superhero genre it is far removed from the CGI-enhanced men in capes or sword-wielding demi-gods. Instead, Shyamalan’s Glass utilises stimulating camera angles that lets you in on the character’s perspective, more than a few extended close-ups and a blatant use of colour to keep its audience engaged.
Like in Split, James McAvoy delivers a startling performance as he switches seamlessly between his abundance of personalities, otherwise known as the Horde. The super amongst the more than twenty personalities is The Beast. Although the film centers on the inevitable face-off between Dunn and The Beast Shyamalan sets up what could be another intriguing path worth following.
Dr. Ellie Staple, wondrously portrayed by the brilliant Sarah Paulson, is somewhat unconventional in her approach as a psychologist but this may not be a coincidence, as there seems to be a lot more to her than initially presented. Her motivations, partially revealed in the film, for persuading the three men that they are ordinary human beings suggests that there is a lot more beneath Dr. Staple’s surface than meets the eye. Shyamalan has left tantalizing suggestions and hints that insinuate another chapter to this story isn’t unfathomable. It would, likely, be one that fans will want to see especially if it places the character of Dr. Ellie Staple at the center of it.
As a conclusion to a trilogy Glass ties the narratives of its predecessors, Unbreakble and Split, together in a satisfactory manner and presents itself, in true Shyamalan fashion, as a conceptually intriguing film.