Film Reviews by Ben Silverman '20
Release date: January 19, 2019
Glass, released in 2019 and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is the 19 year sequel to Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016). Starring James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, this movie is packed with wonderful characters. Just as he did in Split, James McAvoy almost makes the movie - even rivaling the portrayal of the psycho Patrick Bateman by Christian Bale in American Psycho (2000). He perfectly switches characters, going from an 8 year old boy to a mid-aged British woman with a superiority complex at the drop of a penny. However, he isn’t the only big star in this film. Bruce Willis plays the… protagonist? It really is a grey area between protagonist and antagonist, but he’s the closest that Shyamalan gives us to a protagonist. His role as “The Overseer” is played excellently, although taking a bit of a backstage role for most of the movie, and he does an excellent job of becoming the “Dad” figure that Shyamalan cast him as. Samuel L. Jackson, cast as Dr. Glass, also portrays his role as a literal evil genius extremely well. He does an excellent job of keeping his characters persona up and lively for 90% of the movie, and in the 3rd act does is really astounding as we see who his character really is.
The fan favorite of Glass, undoubtedly, is the character(s) of Kevin Wendell… and his 23 other personalities. First showing his face in 2016 in the movie Split, Kevin is what I call “The Dam Breaker”. His character(s), played by James McAvoy, is the character that brings this 19 year saga all to a head and is the key figure in Dr. Glass’ master plan. His portrayal of Kevin and the other personas is absolutely fantastic and if he didn’t win anybody over in Split, he certainly does in this movie. The return of another fan favorite, the main character and protagonist in Split, Casey Cooke (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) is also a welcome surprise, although teased at in the trailer release. She played a key role in the development of Kevin and his different personalities, and she plays a hugely important role in this film - no spoilers though. It’s really great to see both these characters back in action, and I’m really looking forward to seeing James McAvoy coming into the spotlight as more and more directors and writers consider him for bigger roles.
This movie is very similar to another favorite of mine, released earlier this summer. Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) is an action/drama following the rather chaotic night that a couple of strangers have at a hotel that splits in between Nevada and California. It is very similar to one of the greatest movies ever made, Pulp Fiction (1994). It keeps you guessing, and on my first playthrough there were many times where I had absolutely no clue what was going to come next. The twists and 3rd act was hidden and surprising, while not sacrificing character development. Glass is very similar in this regard. It holds the attention of the viewer with one plot and storyline, while keeping many others continuing and developing on the side and in the background. This does an amazing job of keeping the 3rd act a complete surprise, leading to three huge twists (I was not personally a fan of the outcome of these twists).
Although a bit underwhelming, the final scene in Glass is close to perfect. It changed my view of the movie completely. I walked into this movie seeing this as the finale to a 19 year saga, the perfect sequel and ending, but when I left the theater I instead was ready to wait another 19 years for the next movie. With the immense popularity of superhero sagas, Shyamalan is ready to bring us another one. But instead of bringing up another Avengers, Shyamalan is essentially building a cast of Deadpool heroes. He focuses less on the action and “class” aspects of the movie, and instead on “traditional” movie values. Character development, backstory, character connection, the classic finale twist ending, cliffhangers (although we’re no stranger to that after Infinity War), the list goes on. His series, although it may end with the release of Glass (albeit a very very low chance of this happening, based on the end of the movie), is less of a “Good vs. Evil” and more of an “Please nobody die, all these characters are good… with terrible morals”. In layman's terms, Glass serves as the perfect ending and beginning to a new saga of superhero and supervillain films and based off of the existing movies, the upcoming releases will definitely bring classic moral questions into the spotlight.