With Marvel’s Cinematic Universe literally pulling in billions of dollars, it’s no surprise that others would try and cash in on the whole “Shared Universe” idea, but where some, such as The Conjuring Universe, succeeded — now sitting at eight films — others like Universal’s Dark Universe failed miserably with only one film getting made before being abruptly aborted. Then there is M. Night Shyamalan, who made a big splash back in 1999 with his horror film The Sixth Sense and has been on a rather rocky road ever since, especially with his latest attempt at combining his films into some kind of shared universe, but with a Shyamalan twist of course. This brings us to Glass, a film that tries way too hard to create some big mythology.
Glass is the third installment in a “trilogy” that ties M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero film Unbreakable with his supernatural thriller Split. This film deals with superhuman vigilante David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and the malignant psychopathic Kevin Wendell Crumb aka “The Horde” (James McAvoy) being captured and brought to an institution for the criminally insane run by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who is working under the auspices of her study of people with the delusions of being superheroes. Also locked up in this hospital is the evil mastermind Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), who tangled with David Dunn in Unbreakable, and this film spends much of its two-hour-plus run-time with Dr. Staple trying to convince these three that they aren’t special, but given the fact that David’s powers are empirically easy proof, this comes across as utter bullshit … unless, of course, Dr. Staple has some secret agenda. I will now just highlight a few points that make this trilogy shattered like so much … glass.
The Stupidity that is “Glass” *Spoilers*
• David is locked in a cell that can be pumped full of water — his one weakness — but if Staple is trying to prove David is normal, putting him in a “kryptonite” cell isn’t a smart move, because if he is supposed to be this average dude, then a regular cell should hold him just fine.
• Dr. Staple has a group therapy session with our three leads, where she tries to chip away at the belief that they are superhuman — pointing out that “The Beast” could have bent steel bars because the bars were old and weak and that he survived a shotgun blast for the same reason — but she never gets around to explaining away how David is virtually unbreakable and super strong.
• Elijah is given pretty much free rein in this psych ward due to the fact that they apparently only keep one guard on duty at a time, and if one is late showing up for work, the other one fucks off anyway.
• Video footage is only checked on when it’s helpful to the plot, and Elijah is able to delete all his wanderings without anyone noticing jumps in the footage’s time code. He’s apparently that good or everyone else is just that bad at their jobs.
• Dr. Staple plans to use laser surgery on Elijah’s brain to lobotomize him, but unbeknownst to her, on one of his nightly forays he’d stolen the lenses out of the laser, and thus after the surgery is “performed,” he is returned to his room unchanged. Question: How in the fuck can you perform a lobotomy with a dismantled laser and not notice? Are there some kind of magical lasers out there that can access the brain without actually cutting through flesh? Or is Dr. Staple just an idiot for not seeing that her operation isn’t actually happening?
• Elijah informs David of their plans to attack and destroy a chemical company, but David actually is starting to wonder if Dr. Staple is right, that his powers are all in his mind, which once again is ridiculous because he has quantifiable superpowers.
• Elijah and The Beast are able to walk through hospital checkpoints simply because they have a stolen key card, and somehow none of the guards recognize two of the most notorious killers to ever walk the streets of this fair city.
• It’s revealed that Dr. Staple works for a clandestine society that has been covering up the existence of superhumans for centuries, and her plan is to convince these three they aren’t special but if she fails they will be executed. This is apparently to protect humanity from the fights that would stem from superheroes and supervillains popping up everywhere, but my God, there has to be a more efficient way of handling this situation.
• Staple’s primary mission is to keep the world in the dark about people with superpowers, yet she installs dozens of extra security cameras to keep an eye on the ever-slippery Elijah, which just plays into his hands as he was able to hack the system and stream the superhero fight to an offsite server. So if your goal is secrecy, maybe have fewer cameras and instead have more guards on hand — guards who work for the secret society and not the idiots we see employed by this hospital.
It’s clear that M. Night Shyamalan had this big idea about superhero mythology — and that idea does have merit — but the moronic actions and statements by Dr. Staple made it pretty obvious early on that the “twist” would be that she must have some secret agenda because her “People with delusions” theory wouldn’t hold up to ten seconds of scrutiny when put to David Dunn, who could just ask an orderly to stab him in the leg with a pen to prove he’s really unbreakable. The amount of hoop-jumping Shyamalan had to write into this script to make this twist work is simply inexcusable, and is basically an example of a screenwriter trying to ram a round peg into a square hole.
Movie Rank - 4.5/10
With Glass M. Night Shyamalan clunkily forces two good films into a third and tragic final chapter – god I hope this is the final entry – and the result was a frustrating mess that wasted a group of talented actors on a contrived script for a shared universe that didn’t need to exist.