Friday, January 18, 2019

Review: Glass

Release date: January 18, 2019
Running time: 129 minutes
Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jacksonn  

Glass is M. Night Shyamalan's movie that merges 2017's Split with his 2000 hit, Unbreakable.  The film is a long time coming, with advertisements touting that this is a sequel 19 years in the making.  And make no mistake, this is a true follow up to both of those movies.  Shyamalan pulls off a pretty incredible feat by including the main characters from both Split and Unbreakable in Glass; including the main supporting characters from each film.  The same actors from 19 years ago return to reprise their roles in this film.  Much like the age spanning of Boyhood, this lends an air of authenticity to the overall project and I was impressed by the attention to detail.  

That being said, Glass is very different from what I expected.  I was expecting a more traditional super hero movie but I should have known better.  Glass is not an action movie, and it is barely a super hero movie.  It is Shyamalan's take on a real world super hero genre; a heroes living among us scenario without the flash and set pieces of more traditional super hero films.  As one might expect, it is similar to Shyamalan's previous movies in this universe.  Both Unbreakable and Split spent more time discussing and developing characters, than on super hero-style exploits, and Glass is no different.  

Similar to those movies, Glass is a slowly-paced exploration.  A large part of the movie is one-on-one dialogue, most of which involves the three main actors: McAvoy, Willis, and Jackson.  Each of the main characters does a great job reprising their role and McAvoy puts on a show as 23 distinct characters, often switching between them rapidly and unpredictably.  Willis and Jackson are both great reprising their roles from Unbreakable, but they are overshadowed by McAvoy's brilliance.  

Overall, I enjoyed Shyamalan's super hero universe more than I expected, but I can see why people would criticize this film.  It is slow, has more exposition than action, and is sometimes ridiculous.  The dialog can be at times without any subtlety, or just have a nonrelated shift to get some point across.  You will know if you are interested in this movie based on whether you liked Unbreakable and Split.  But if you have the patience for Shyamalan's vision of a super hero universe, it presents an interesting premise and a chance to revisit some fantastic characters.  

If you liked unbreakable and split, watch it, otherwise:

Rent it

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