‘Glass’ Movie Review Roundup: Critics Divided On Finale To M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Unbreakable’ Trilogy
In the finale to the trilogy about the derailment of the fictional Eastrail #177 train, we see Bruce Willis return as David Dunn, a security guard and vigilante “Overseer” with superhuman strength. Samuel L. Jackson is also back as evil genius Elijah Price, also known as “Mr. Glass,” and James McAvoy reprises his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Beast, a former Philadelphia Zoo employee who has 24 distinct personalities and thus suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID. (He had 23 personalities in Split, but a new one called “The Beast” emerges in this film). Anya Taylor-Joy also returns as teenage girl Casey Cooke, one of the youngsters Crumb kidnapped in Split but who later escaped.
Sarah Paulson joins the cast of Glass to play Dr. Ellie Staple, a psychiatrist who specializes in people who suffer from delusions of grandeur and believe they are comic book superheroes.
Many critics have lamented the fact that despite strong performances from its main cast and some notable nods to the first two films, Glass ultimately lacks the mystery and surprises that marked the first two films in the trilogy. As of Friday afternoon, the film has a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“It’s good to see Shyamalan back (to a degree) in form, to the extent that he’s recovered his basic mojo as a yarn spinner,” writes Variety’s Owen Gleiberman. “But ‘Glass’ occupies us without haunting us; it’s more busy than it is stirring or exciting. Maybe that’s because revisiting this material feels a touch opportunistic, and maybe it’s because the deluge of comic-book movies that now threatens to engulf us on a daily basis has leeched what’s left of the mystery out of comics.”
Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty:
“Like his on-screen characters, Shyamalan has always grappled with his own special gift (which may also be his greatest burden) — his talent for delivering a gotcha sting-in-the-tail surprise. That playful air of the unexpected is mostly missing from ‘Glass.’ We’ve been here before, now there’s just more of it. Yes, it’s easy to be impressed by the world that Shyamalan has created and now fleshed out, but it would be nice if we were also moved to feel something too. In the end, ‘Glass’ is more half empty than half full.”
Forbes’ Scott Mendelson:
“‘Glass’ is a shattering disappointment and a monumental artistic misfire from one of my favorite filmmakers. It is, at least, a testament to my belief that ‘Unbreakable’ needed no sequel. If that majestic superhero origin-as-mid-life-crisis drama was too early to cash in on the zeitgeist (which is, to be fair, part of what made it stand out all of these years), then this continuation is (at best) a decade too late. It adds little of value to its predecessors, offers nothing in terms of in-the-now commentary on its genre and actively pollutes the carefully constructed mythology. It is so focused on plot turns and story twists that it mostly loses sight of its characters. It plays like an inadequate (and underfunded) fanfiction sequel to ‘Unbreakable’ and a meta-parody of a stereotypical late-2000s M. Night Shyamalan miss.”
Indiewire’s David Ehrlich:
“The trouble with ‘Glass’ isn’t that its creator sees his own reflection at every turn, or that he goes so far out of his way to contort the film into a clear parable for the many stages of his turbulent career; the trouble with ‘Glass’ is that its mildly intriguing meta-textual narrative is so much richer and more compelling than the asinine story that Shyamalan tells on its surface.”