Glass (2019)
January 20, 2019 11:31 AM - Subscribe

The third, concluding film in M. Night Shyamalan's trilogy about superpowered people that began with Unbreakable and continued with Split.
posted by DirtyOldTown (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is very, very bad. The entire second act could have been shipped if David Dunn had simply, at any point, said, "I know you think I'm crazy, but if you just bring in say, two thousand pounds of weight, I will lift it and then we can move on to next steps."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:10 PM on January 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

Also, if instead of following his wanna auteur boner into yet another TWIST! ending, he'd just worked the Clover Conspiracy into the movie from the get-go, the entire psychiatric hospital section might not have felt so leaden and inert.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:19 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the warning. I just caught Split and feel like writing an angry letter to someone. Definitely gonna pass on this.
posted by mordax at 9:51 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I loved Unbreakable, but have avoided watching any of the follow-up movies. I'll be watching this thread to see if anyone suggests I give them a try.
posted by xammerboy at 11:27 PM on January 20, 2019

Split was an interesting enough horror movie, albeit one with extremely unrealistic (and one might say irresponsible) depictions of dissociative identity disorder in particular and mental illness/personal trauma in general. As a fan of Unbreakable from back in the day (I rewatched it recently, and it holds up!), I'll admit to being intrigued by Split's ending reveal, but this felt like a bait and switch. Willis and Jackson's roles are practically walk-on cameos, with neither character really shining in comparison to McAvoy's genuinely compelling (if at times deeply silly) performance.

I got the sense that Shyamalan actually knows less about superhero comics now than when he wrote Unbreakable; his apparent confusion in the first movie over the meaning of the phrase "limited edition" (which describes the size of a comic's print run, not the length of the story!) literally gets elevated to a full plot point in this one.

I was also bothered by basically everything surrounding Anya Taylor-Joy's character, specifically the revelation mid-film that all Kevin (McAvoy's "base" personality) needed to come back to the surface was for a pretty girl to hold his hand and tell him that he was a good good boy. It was almost like that Ross Douthat incel editorial dramatized for the big screen.

At the very least, it was a huge step backward for her character, whose harrowing experience in the previous movie had emboldened her to finally blow the whistle on her abusive uncle; The Horde had literally imprisoned her and eaten her friends, I can't see anybody who lived through that ordeal, and with her previous life experience, suddenly deciding that restorative justice was the way to go.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:06 AM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

My personal ratings for the series:
(Note, I use the Ebert-style, relative-to-its-niche scale, not an absolute scale.)
Unbreakable: *** 1/2
Split: ** 1/2
Glass: *
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:41 AM on January 21, 2019

Any one of these statements, if made and followed up on by David Dunn, would have rendered the entire second act unnecessary:

"I see you don't really believe me about the superstrength. How about you bring a set of Olympic-level weights into this secure, sprinkler enabled room? You can also bring along a few snipers so you can feel safe. I will lift any amount you bring. Then we can talk further about my abilities."
"I am going to stay seated in this chair because that is my choice and I wish no harm to any of you. But I am going to go ahead and pop these chains off, so that we can stop treating my abilities as a delusion."
"There are hundreds of reports of me performing superhuman tasks. Pick any one of them and I will duplicate it in a controlled laboratory setting."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:45 AM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

Also, having Samuel L. Jackson in the title role of your film and barely allowing him to speak for the first hour or so is movie malpractice.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

Dan Olson of Folding Ideas had a vlog about Glass and brings up why we see so little of Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis. It's because this is a movie made for cheap, so a lot of the budget was used just to get them to show up and not always both at the same time. And the video also brings up that Bruce Willis these days has riders in his contract that limit that he works on set only one day and uses doubles for other days (Dan didn't say for what length of time, but I assume it's like a week since he estimates they got Willis for maybe five days in Glass).

I watched Glass and felt like it was very mediocre, but now thinking about it after a couple of days and watching stuff on the Internet looking back on the trilogy, I'm really starting to dislike it. Because the two villain's view is that suffering, pain, and being "broken" is what gives you power and makes you stronger. And I know other folks have pointed out that this is kind of insensitive of actual people who suffer trauma an abuse, and I agree. And it's even worse because in-universe there's never any character or anyone that refutes or challenges the villain's view. David Dunn, the protagonist is someone I expect to stand up and say, "You're wrong, I'm not strong because I've experienced pain and loss!" and then go on to say something like, for example, it's the belief of his son or love or Philadelphia that gives him strength. Dunn just kind of goes with whatever people tell him (like when the doctor says he's deluded). You mean to tell me it's been 19 in-universe years since Unbreakable and David hasn't "grown" or changed in his reasons of being a super hero? That's why this feels like such an incomplete mess and it's not due to the cheap effects. Other than surface conflict, there's no conflict of belief or ideas between the two sides, which is really 101 writing kind of stuff!

I mean, Into the Spider-verse has all the Spider-people experience pain and loss, but one theme is that they don't have to do it alone and they have friends, family, and a support network to get through it.
posted by FJT at 12:40 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

> "Unbreakable: *** 1/2 ... Split: ** 1/2 ... Glass: *"

His evil plan continues unabated.
posted by kyrademon at 2:05 PM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

Willis seems to have turned into late period Marlon Brando minus the bulk.
posted by octothorpe at 12:44 PM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Willis seems to have turned into late period Marlon Brando minus the bulk.

The latest episode of the Blank Check with Griffin & David podcast makes this same comparison. In the episode they mention the rumor that Willis has also gotten in the habit of showing up the first day of shooting for a film and asking the director an out-of-the-blue technical question -- something about lenses or aspect ratios or whatever -- and depending on the answer he gets, he will either be extremely cooperative for the rest of the shoot, or he will become extremely hard to work with. Guess how this went when he worked with Kevin Smith on Cop Out?
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:11 PM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

As a Philadelphian, the most aggravating parts of the film were the unnecessary fake skyscraper which kept changing location and the impossible skyline view.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:44 PM on February 11, 2019

The best part is when you realize Mr. Glass has a masterplan, and you completely don't understand what it is, no matter how observant and insightful you think you are.

Apart from the beautiful cinematography and expert acting, that is the reason to watch this movie. All of the hints, all of the foreshadowing, all of the tattooed reveals... Mr. Glass had a plan. We, all of us, aren't smart enough to figure it out.

Maybe it worked?

We'll never know. What a twist!
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:52 PM on April 27, 2019

Mr Glass is genuinely creepy. He makes me so uncomfortable I could barely get through Unbreakable. So it was a relief he was in Glass slightly less. But still, those constant shots of him either breaking bones or nearly breaking bones...I can’t take it. Those teeth!

I don’t get David. First of all, “the overseer”?!!! He’s supposed to be the hero, and THAT is his name? I mean, some super strong hooded figure roaming around meting out vigilante justice was always going to spook me but to literally call him “the overseer” is that extra bridge too far.

I guess it was on purpose, so we’d be a little afraid and unsettled by him, the ostensible hero? Or maybe not, considering how straight the movie played it.

McAvoy was absolutely fantastic but The Horde is a mess. I mean, real people have DID! I get that it’s a comic book version of the illness, like people with brittle bone disease are also not like Mr Glass. But seems really insensitive all the same. Also, this is maybe petty but I was irritated that, while some of the personalities made sense as people that had to be born to keep Kevin alive, some seemed like totally random jokes. Why include those?

Also, I get why The Horde and the Beast think that being broken makes you stronger but like, that’s not a real thing and Mr Glass is obvious proof of that within the movie’s world. Being broken actually seems to drive people mad...except Casey? Who was strengthened by her ordeal at the hands of the Horde in Split? Which does make some sense, but then she also becomes Kevin’s biggest advocate and tells people to stop hurting him and stuff, so apparently she’s not down for breaking people to “make them stronger,” like Mr Glass is. I thought “what happens when you hurt someone too much?” is basically the crux of the movie, but then it has nothing to do with the climax or ending, which was all about some conspiracy and viral videos, so maybe not?

I wish that when Casey learned to protect herself during the kidnapping, she had also learned to protect herself from the Horde in particular. That whole “relationship” went off in a really lazy and unrealistic direction, I thought.

It kinda cracks me up that, just like in Unbreakable, David’s kid is a total weirdo. I actually really like that touch.

Terrible movie, but I enjoyed it anyhow because McAvoy was so great to watch as an actor. He really nailed Patricia. The look in his eyes when he was playing her, she felt so real. Realer than literally any of the other personalities, including Kevin and including the Beast.
posted by rue72 at 9:15 PM on September 15, 2019

I was just thinking about this movie today and about the far-after-the-fact rumblings about it that leaked out after the revelations about Bruce Willis's cognitive decline.

Essentially, people involved in the production said that even at this point, several years ago, Willis was a mess. They had to chop up his monologues or cut them, minimize his dialogue in general, substitute with body doubles where possible, etc.

It really makes me wonder if this wasn't so much bad because Shyamalan bungled it but because he didn't have great options given the status of his star.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:58 AM on August 27, 2022

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