“GLASS” is the third film in this unassuming M. Night Shyamalan comic-book inspired trilogy. Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and James McAvoy are all back in their roles. Now I loved “Unbreakable” and “Split”. I think they both work on their own as solo films and I think they work well together. I loved the layers these movies built, and I was extremely excited to get in the theater to see what would happen in the world of this story and with these character-arcs. But sadly, I was a little disappointed in this one. I wanted to love it. I ended up liking it. And while it was not a bad movie in my opinion, it was a mild letdown. It felt like it tried to include too much into this world. It seemed like a film that felt it needed to close things out with gravitas, and it felt noticeably self-aware at times.
Something I loved about the first two movies was the subtly of it all. The treatment of the audience as being smarter with story layers that made us think beyond the dialogue. The scripts in those films planted seeds of information, watered them frequently throughout, and they flourished. In this film too many things felt over-explained. It was a collection of intriguing scenes woven together into an interesting story-line. But it never was able to build that fun curiosity I loved from the two prior films. The dialogue was very exposition filled in heavy doses and it prevented me from being fully engaged in what was happening.
I often think less can be more in some instances. This movie however felt like one that wanted to do more and more of anything that worked in the prior movies. The changing of McAvoy from one personality to the other was fascinating to see in “Split” much like it was in this movie. The first handful of times. But with repeated exposure to it by the time the final-act kicked in it felt surprisingly watered down. Even with McAvoy being flawless in his delivery. But I will say despite being overused, I didn’t really ever get tired of seeing McAvoy onscreen who the primary focus of this story seemed to be on because he was simply awesome to watch.
I also liked what I saw from both Jackson and Willis in this movie but at times they felt sort of forgotten in the mix. They didn’t get the deeper character dive I was hoping for. Their placement in the story in certain scenes also felt more like filler between the progression of the McAvoy story-arc. Their characters do get some dashes of continued development. But it wasn’t as smooth and as focused as McAvoy’s and for myself I was hoping for more balance throughout. Each character also gets their own handler so to speak. Or their own Happy Hogan in a sense, and the added characters tossed in made the story feel a little choppy in its progression and also cost Willis and Jackson some valuable screen-time.
David Dunn has his son. Elijah Price has his mother. Kevin has Casey whom he kidnapped in “Split” and while I enjoyed some of their scenes and thought all the performances worked. There were other times that it felt like convenient placement. With dialogue that felt more like exposition than natural conversations between people. Again, these were things that hindered me from fully investing into the movie. But I did enjoy it. It lured me in quickly, but I would’ve liked a more consistent pace. It slightly meanders around in the second-act then really tries to stitch on some layers late that didn’t hit with impact because they didn’t get the proper foundation prior in the story.
But I don’t want to sound like I’m hating on this movie because there were large sections of it, I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a serviceable conclusion to the prior films. But I think it had the potential for so much more. It does create some intense scenes and delivers plenty of creepy visuals. It also has that familiar unnerving musical score that did a nice job of heightening some scenes nicely when needed. It also drops in some genuine intrigue, fun action-sequences, and splashes of violence that pulled me up in my seat. These sections of the film I liked however just didn’t come together like I was hoping.
The visual appeal was a little erratic at times as well. Some of the camera angles felt a little clunky, and others were nicely crafted to build some strong intensity. For the most part I enjoyed the direction from Shyamalan. I liked how he framed up many of the shots, and how he maneuvered the characters. I can also appreciate many of the directions he wanted to take this story, but I think the character dialogue was a major weakness in this film. Watching Willis and McAvoy however battling it out and seeing the final layers of this story fall into place delivered enough to entertain me.
I think if you are curious about this one, then certainly check it out to see for yourself. I think there will be some who love it, and other who definitely will not. I enjoyed a bulk of it. I do think it was a little too verbally referential to the comics. I liked the subtlety of this dynamic in the prior movies, “Unbreakable” more specifically, and I missed being able to connect things with comic references in my own head rather than characters constantly telling me onscreen just to make sure nobody missed one. But it does have some redeeming qualities and a great performance from McAvoy to carry the intrigue.
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