Jan 28, 2019
We’re back with another Matinee Monday, this time with our good friend Ryan L. Terry. I recently helped work on an audio promo for him, as he’s become quite the celebrity among #FilmTwitter, and we’re always happy to have him on the show. We’ll run that promo in a little bit, but be sure to check out Ryan’s other reviews for “Fried Green Tomatoes” (Episode #275) and “The Favourite” (Episode #379), and search his Twitter account for the many, many shows he’s guested upon.
Take it away, Ryan!
Today’s movie is “Glass” (2019), the superhero film directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan. Not a total trainwreck, but the plot is full of cracks, nevertheless.
After the success of “Split” (2017), M. Night Shyamalan's “Glass”was the highly anticipated conclusion to the macabre take on the superhero genre. Unfortunately, the film fails to deliver the intense plot that audiences wanted. After the big reveal that “Split” was connected to “Unbreakable”(2000), the audience was predisposed to anticipating the same level of suspense and thrill that was found in the aforementioned two films. Plot twist. The plot misses the mark. “Glass” is the final installment in this superhero universe trilogy that postulates that comic book characters are, albeit exaggerated, inspired by real-life super humans. Out of left field, this movie was completely unexpected until the uncredited cameo of Bruce Willis' character of David Dunn from “Unbreakable”. Despite the lackluster narrative, the film is not without its entertainment value. It is sufficiently enjoyable, but leaves you with a feeling of “meh."
Dunn, now aided by his now-grown son Joe (Spencer Treat Clark), runs a home security company as a cover for his “real” job of patrolling the city as a vigilante crime fighter in a black rain poncho. All his sleuthing and observations send him to a warehouse to apprehend The Beast, the violent personality of Kevin Wendell Crumb's plethora of unique personalities. After a thwarted attempt to capture The Beast, both Dunn and “Split”'s Kevin (James McAvoy) are committed to an asylum under the medical practice of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) where they become cell neighbors with the villainous mastermind Mister Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) now in a catatonic state. Dr. Staple's goal is to identify the psychological cause of the three patients for their respective belief that they are super human and convince them that it is part delusion and mental disorder. When The Beast and Mister Glass break out of the asylum, Dunn must stop them from going on a murderous rampage with the intent to plunge the city into complete chaos. This is one of those films that demonstrates that it has all the elements to create a dark suspense thriller, but all the pieces never quite fit together to form a coherent story that evokes the desired physiological and emotional response from the audience. The payoff does not equal the wind up. While many of Shyamalan's films showcase a solid understanding of the art of suspense, especially with Split's Hitchcockian approach, he appears to have gone backwards once again and falls victim to this own tropes and criticism. The attempt at suspense in “Glass” simply does not work.
Alfred Hitchcock on suspense: “I’d prefer to suggest something and let the audience figure it out. The big difference between, we’ll say, suspense, and shock or surprise, is that in order to get suspense, you provide the audience with a certain amount of information, and leave the rest of it to their own imagination.”
Instead of being dependent upon and propelled by conflict, dramatic irony, action, and character development, the plot is bogged down by lazy or prolific exposition, lack of high stakes, and poorly executed turning points.
To fully understand “Glass”,you definitely need to re-watch “Split”and perhaps watch “Unbreakable”for the first time. That was the case with me. “Split” was still fresh enough in my mind, but I had never seen “Unbreakable” until just before watching “Glass”. There are many challenges faced by a writer whom takes two seemingly disconnected films (except for that cameo) and writes a third that acts as a sequel to both in order to marry the two stories. I can tell that this movie is trying so hard to justify its existence, but simply does not fully connect to the other two much higher quality films.
Connecting two separate films together in retrospect is a difficult task, and perhaps this is an example of how not to do it. Had Shyamalan channeled the pacing of “Unbreakable”and the tension of “Split”, then perhaps “Glass” wouldn't have been shattered. There is an attempt by Shyamalan to comment on toxic YouTube and comic book fan culture, but all the subplots become mangled and fall short of the social commentary for which Shyamalan was striving.
Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
One Movie Punch: 5/10
“Glass” is rated PG-13 and is playing in theatres nationwide.