Glass bins superhero cliches and film crackles when James McAvoy and Bruce Willis meet on screen
IF you’ve come here for an M Night Shyamalan kicking – you’ve come to the wrong place.
The vitriol levelled at the Sixth Sense director is pretty breathtaking – and I get it, I really do.
You either tap into his worlds, his mood, his twists (which sometimes hit, sometimes misfire) and his rather emotional posturing – or you don’t.
If you don’t then fair enough, I’m not going to be able to change your mind. But if you’re one of the people who genuinely love ‘The Village’ – who still think ‘Unbreakable’ paved the way for the superhero realism we now take for granted (it came 5 years before Nolan and Bale reinvented Batman) and even hold a soft spot for the much-maligned ‘Lady in the Water’ then come hold my hand.
The final seconds of 2016’s ‘Split’ took everyone by surprise.
The reveal that The Beast inhabited the same universe as David Dunn – and by proxy Mr. Glass – was salivating – a Shyamalan masterstroke.
Here, 2 years later, is the bottleneck of those two films – the apex at which The Overseer, The Beast and Mr. Glass hang out.
If you cast your mind back (and it’s impossible to do this without spoilers, so apologies in advance) Kevin Wendell-Crumb (James McAvoy’s incredible character who suffers from DID and portrays 23 distinct personalities) escaped and went into hiding, with David Dunn (Willis) casting an eye at the news report.
We begin ‘Glass’ with both authorities and The Overseer (David Dunn’s alter ego) hunting for four missing cheerleaders.
He discovers them first, having a right ruck with The Beast – the pair pitting their ‘super-powers’ against each other for the first time.
Before either can win or escape – they’re captured by the police, helmed by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychiatrist who treats patients who are convinced they are superhuman.
Taken to a Raven Hill Memorial Hospital, a secure facility with each cell designed to attack their individual weaknesses, they discover Mr. Glass is down the corridor – largely sedated and close to receiving a lobotomoy.
You’ll have to watch for the rest of the plot… If the opening 20 minutes is a direct Split sequel, the middle act is on Unbreakable ground.
It’s action does slow and Shyamalan focuses on the quandary Dunn had in Unbreakable – are the powers real and does it actually matter?
Sadly, it’s not perfect – but Unbreakable was so good it is a tough ask anyway. Whenever the actors meet on screen the film crackles.
Jackson is of course scenery-chewingly great but it’s when McAvoy and Willis (Dunn is easily his second best role) lock eyes that the goosebumps make an appearance.
Annoyingly this happens far too infrequently.
I also completely appreciate the final act/twist will really annoy some people – but I relish, almost enjoy that.
Thinking “he’s got it wrong” or “he’s bottled it” is missing, I think, what Shyamalan is trying to do.
He takes more superhero cliches, leads them down the lane and dumps them in a quarry.
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But I digress – bringing Spencer Treat Clark back as Joseph Dunn (the young son who discovers his dad’s powers in Unbreakable) is a masterstroke and Anya Taylor-Joy’s return as Casey is also very welcome.
Sarah Paulson is never not watchable and honestly, I really enjoyed revisiting the characters, seeing the cast getting stuck in.
Better than the first two?
Probably not, but Haterz plz get lost. As I keep saying – the world is a better place with M Night Shyamalan in it.