Before the screening of M. Night Shyamalan's final entry into his Eastrail 177 trilogy that began with Unbreakable and continued with Split, there was a message that reminded us this film is nineteen years in the making. I don't buy that. See when Split ended and revealed it taking place in the same universe as Unbreakable, I thought immediately that this twist had been tacked on. Glass makes more a case for that reading than one for Shyamalan has been working to bring these films to screen for nearly two decades.
Glass attempts to unite David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) and Keven Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) into a superhero versus villains opus. It ends up being an out-of-touch dissection of comic books. See when Unbreakable hit in 2000, it was an emotionally rich film about the nature of heroes in comics. It was refreshing because comic books hadn't been taken as seriously as Shyamalan's film did. It was also emotionally rich and textured. Flash forward to 2019 where we get 6-8 superhero films a year that treat the material seriously and his approach doesn't have the same punch.
Glass opens up promisingly enough. We get to see the face-off between Kevin and his Horde and David as The Overseer. This battle is what many fans of this series have been hoping for. However, it is over rather quick and much of the next hour or more is spent inside a hospital as the three men get psycho-analyzed by Dr. Staple (Sarah Paulson). This slows the movie but I don't have a problem there. Unbreakable was slow but a good kind of slow that allowed for emotions to be explored. The real issue with this section of the movie is that Dr. Staple tries to convince the would-be superheroes that they are delusional and suffering from a condition that makes them believe they are super. What this does is undermine the previous two films for over an hour. It is hard to not wonder what the film is trying to say at this point.
Things come back into focus in the clumsy and silly final act. I won't spoil anything here but there is a twist and it works against what Shyamalan began in Unbreakable. Couple this with the regular insertion of characters monologuing about the nature of comic books and you get a film that ranks as one of Shyamalan's worst efforts. There is no grace to how the script tries to handle its ideas and themes. Glass simply stops for a character to explain its ideas and then the film resumes. Tonal shifts abound as a result.
Glass isn't without some good things. McAvoy, while in a different film, is a joy to watch play all of the multiple personalities of the Horde. When Samuel L. Jackson finally gets his moment in the final act, he shines. The clunky script isn't without a few interesting ideas. It is a shame that these get thrown out in favor of the twist ending that fails to mean anything. The pedantic dialogue spells out things anyone who has been going to the movies for the last 10 years knows. I did, however, learn that you can't be a Nicki Minaj and a Drake fan, you have to choose one.