M Knight Shyamalan is not one to shy away from involving a twist or two in his films. Back in 2016, he shocked the whole world with the ending to Split, a film that seemed to standalone from all his other films. That was until Bruce Willis’ David Dunn, a character from his 2000 film Unbreakable made an appearance. It shocked me massively and left me with great levels of anticipation for Glass, a sequel to both films.
Reuniting David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), and introducing them to Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) sees events unfold in Glass. With Dunn in pursuit of Crumb and his multiple personalities, Price a.k.a. Mr Glass may hold secrets of both their respective pasts.
Shyamalan’s Glass sees two big ideas spread across two films culminate in a finale fitting to the director’s past of twisting and turning right until the very last frame. His writing is electric for the first half of the film, exploring the current state-of-mind of each of the three who believe themselves to be superheroes. It’s as the film moves into its final act where things start to nearly turn catastrophically convoluted but Shyamalan manages to weave his way through a quite complex narrative rather well, resulting in a satisfying conclusion to his trilogy.
I always wondered how Shyamalan would make Glass work as a sequel to both Unbreakable and Split however, right from the off it just works, giving the film the perfect platform to push on and explore these characters further.
Coming to the performances, Glass has a returning trio who all deliver solid performances in roles that remain some of their best work. James McAvoy is, once again, scarily good as not just Kevin but the multiple personalities he possesses, possibly bettering his own performance in Split. Samuel L Jackson has a film of two halves for an actor and when he gets into gear, his villain is as menacing as he’s been before. Bruce Willis was the one who I was worried about, mainly because of his recent performances in films like Death Wish, where the lack of emotion derailed the film. With the flick of a switch though, Willis wakes up and proves in Glass that he can deliver a performance when needed.
Sarah Paulson’s Dr Ellie Staple is a very welcome addition to the roster and it’s great to see Anya Taylor-Joy return as Casey Cooke, even if both eventually get lost amongst the heavy final act.
While Glass is a weaker film than both Unbreakable and Split, it still manages to provide this eccentric superhero trilogy with an ending that isn’t afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. It may lose some but, for me, it shows Shyamalan is still not afraid to make a film the way he wants and, in today’s Hollywood, that’s something that should be applauded.