Even though anyone who is familiar with writer/director M. Night Shyamalan knows to expect a twist in his movies, I think that “Glass” will end up differently than any viewer expects it to. Not necessarily in a shocking way, but it’s not an easy story to predict and is better for it.
Although fans probably weren’t anticipating the meeting of Mr. Glass, David Dunn and Kevin Crumb as much as in other extended universe crossover movies, the crossover nature of the movie is handled very effectively. Whereas the Avengers movies tend to just serve the purpose of bringing a bunch of heroes together to defeat a more powerful villain than in the solo movies, “Glass” uses the meeting of its characters to develop them much further and have them play off of each other in interesting ways. Each of the three characters has very different backstories, and even though this crossover movie is largely about bringing them together, it takes a lot of time to deal with them and their unique situations individually.
A major selling point of the movie, as with “Split,” is James McAvoy’s off the wall performance in the role of a character with 24 personalities. While there is less focus on him here than in “Split” we get to see a few glimpses of the other personalities that we didn’t see in “Split,” along with the ones that have more prominence.
Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson have both given better performances, but do their jobs more than adequately. Also returning are Elijah’s mother (Charlayne Woodard), David Dunn’s son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) and Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy).
The main plot of the movie centers around the one new character, Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychiatrist trying to convince her three patients that their abilities are not supernatural, and are less potent than they have been led to believe.
This is where I think “Glass” really sets itself apart. Some people could argue that every movie and story is about the hero discovering their true potential in one way or another, and superhero movies are more blatant than most about this. So it was cool to see a story where the heroes begin to doubt their own abilities. In some ways it felt more true to life.
I’ve always loved the scenes where superheroes first discover the extent of their powers, but it’s not an experience that most of us have had. However, I think practically everyone has had to give up on some kind of dream in their life. There was a time when I was little that I tried to convince myself that I had special powers, but I gave up this idea after the adults around me brought me back to reality. I’m sure I’m not the only kid who had that experience, and while it is necessary, it’s still disappointing to be told that you aren’t special in the way you want to be, so I liked that the characters in this movie had to go through that.
I’m still not quite sure how to feel about the movie as a whole. It definitely isn’t bad, but I’m not quite sure how good it is. It definitely does some unique storytelling, which I applaud. It also proves that Marvel has not made the only good version of a crossover movie. Still, there were a few points that felt iffy. I guess it is safe to say that there was room for improvement, but I think that there are lessons that writers and storytellers can take from this movie.
Because the movie is set in Philadelphia, there were a few things that I couldn’t help noticing about it. First of all, it was cool to see a movie that took place in the only city that I’m really familiar with. There was a shot that looked like it could have been taken from the roof of a Drexel University dorm (probably Caneris Hall or North Hall). So that was kind of fun. However, there was a plot device featuring the opening of the new tallest building in the city, and for the sake of consistency the fake building was shown in all of the establishing shots of Center City. As someone who can see the Center City layout from my dorm window, it just looked wrong to see a huge building thrown in the middle of the real buildings. On a side note, the first movie in the trilogy, “Unbreakable,” is the only movie I’ve ever seen that mentions Drexel in any capacity.
I’m not saying that you should see this movie only because it is set in Philly, that would be dumb. But it’s still pretty cool to see our city represented in a big studio movie.
Out of all of the movies released in January, this is the only one that I think is worth seeing. January is a month for people to see the awards season films they didn’t get a chance to see in December and for that reason, it’s notoriously the worst month for new movies . So if you don’t like the look of anything up for an Oscar but still want to go see something, this is a good pick. I will strongly advise that you see both “Unbreakable” and “Split” (in either order) beforehand because “Glass” references them both in a way that assumes the viewer has already seen them.