M. Night Shyamalan is bringing both films together 19 years after “Unbreakable” and two years after “Split” – just as it was originally planned. But the GLASS titled conclusion to the “Easttrain 177” trilogy was disappointing. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
The psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) specializes in people who supposedly have supernatural powers or even think they are comic heroes. Now she has to deal with three fantastically disturbing patients: the mysterious comic lover Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), who has been convinced for many years that there are superheroes on earth, the literally unbreakable David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who has miraculously survived several fatal accidents uninjured, and the inconspicuous Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), who not only has almost two dozen different personalities within him, but also has a bloodthirsty beast raging behind his facade…
Movie explanation of the ending
It was one of those very rare ones “What the fuck!?”-Moments when in the very last scene of M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller “Split” David Dunn suddenly appeared – the character around whom everything revolved in the superhero drama “Unbreakable”, also directed by Shyamalan and released in 2000, for which the Indian-born director had to endure something that today would probably be described as a “shitstorm”. After his critics and audience favorite “The Sixth Sense”, his follow-up work, which was created under great pressure, was mainly criticized. Only over the years and in the context of Shyamalan’s subsequent work did “Unbreakable” retroactively develop into one of his most respected films today. But the idea of subsequently combining Shyamalan’s new film “Split” with “Unbreakable” was not a quick shot by the “Cloverfield” brand, true to the motto: “Whatever we can’t market, we just put whatever label we want on it!” Rather, Shyamalan fulfilled a dream he had cherished from the beginning, because the character of Kevin Wendell Crumb, who harbors almost two dozen personalities, was already supposed to play a major role in “Unbreakable”. It took 19 years to turn this dream into reality. In “Glass” David Dunn and Mr. Glass, who were introduced in “Unbreakable,” and the “Split” main character Kevin meet. Ultimately, it is not the director M. Night Shyamalan who fails in this project, which was intended to be big from the start, but rather the screenwriter.
Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson) and his fellow prisoner (James McAvoy) slowly get to know each other in the psychiatric ward.
The “Easttrail 177” trilogy was intended to be the ultimate love letter to the world of comic books and superheroes. The characters themselves never tire of emphasizing this; Not since his self-congratulatory tour in The Girl from the Water has a Shymalan film been like this meta like “Glass”. But in doing so, the author remains true to himself, after all, “Unbreakable” is based primarily on the idea that a character (Mr. Glass) explains the structure of a superhero film to us, while one of them also happens to be one-on-one in front of us eyes runs without us noticing it at that moment. If you want to put it that way, the Shyamalan-typical twist in the final meters of “Unbreakable” was the revelation of the genre; And “Glass” continues in exactly the same theorizing vein. It is even retroactively ensured that the “Split”, which apparently renounces this structure, fits in with this meta-tonality in a comprehensible way, even if at first glance it is “just” a banal psychological thriller, of which yes In fact, some say that it was only David Dunn’s cameo that ensured that he didn’t become an absolute disaster. But as it is, “Glass” becomes the finale of a three-act blueprint for comic book origin stories: “Unbreakable” stands for the first act, “Split” forms the second and “Glass” is now supposed to be the spectacular finale that represents the formidable advance planning Despite not being able to capitalize on the quality of the previous two films.
Strictly speaking, M. Night Shyamalan collects the most important aspects of “Unbreakable” and “Split” for “Glass” and finally lets them collide here. That’s how it should be. Actually. The very careful pace from “Unbreakable”, the weight of meaning in the dialogues and the dreariness of the production can also be found here. This is exactly how James McAvoy, who really turns it up this time, makes his mark (“Limitless”) the event largely depends on his presence. Although Bruce Willis (“Death Wish”) After countless trips to the home cinema, for which at some point he only seemed to be hired to look disinterested, here he finally performs again in a rousing and emotionally moving way, “Glass” lives primarily from McAvoy’s action; The script shifts the character of David Dunn into that of a passive observer for so long. The biggest unknown for a long time is Mr. Glass, Samuel L. Jackson (“The Hateful 8”), even more than in the original film, is established as an invaluable (perhaps) mastermind whose plans you only really understand when he reveals them himself in the last third. But here “Glass” already begins to have a direct impact on “Unbreakable” and “Split”: While these two films were often particularly captivating because they left narrative gaps in crucial moments, M. Night Shyamalan now demystifies every single one, no matter how small Possibility of open interpretation. “Glass” leads strictly to one goal. And so we come to the next problem, because neither the goal itself nor the path to get there are anywhere near as attractive as the story on which the film is based and explained at the beginning.
Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) gets to the bottom of her patients’ delusions.
After the very dialogue-heavy and thoughtful “Unbreakable” and the crazy, sensational “Split”, M. Night Shymalan returns to the origins here. In “Glass” he also deliberately drives with the handbrake on and even regularly takes his foot off the accelerator to let his characters deliver long monologues. The problem: While such narrative escapades were still relevant in “Unbreakable” because the characters actually had something to say, in “Glass” they are mostly limited to empty gibberish. New insights are rarely found. Instead, the therapy sessions with Dr. Ellie Staple and her patients consist of empty phrases, theories and open questions, the constant repetitions of which soon become redundant. It is only in the last third that Shyamalan picks up the pace, only to make similar mistakes to the majority of directors of modern popcorn cinema: While the filmmaker previously consistently stuck to his reduced scenario, his lurid final act becomes arbitrary and interchangeable. To some extent this may even be a comment; After all, the DNA of a classic superhero film really shines through here. But up to this point, “Glass” is at least one thing: ambitious, if only moderately entertaining. And especially for viewers who have never seen “Unbreakable” or “Split” before, what is happening on the screen from beginning to end will probably make no sense.
Speaking of meaning: “Glass” also only partially adheres to its inner (!) logic. If the world of the “Easttrail 177” trilogy has been explicitly established as ours for two and a half productions, that is precisely why the film ends on a completely unbelievable note. This silence doesn’t reveal too much, just this much: If we were to transfer what was happening there one-to-one to the present, we would soon have to assume that news programs would be broadcasting the fake videos of supposed UFOs uploaded to video platforms. Add sightings and the like to the news as breaking news. But even on the meta level of “Glass” things get bumpy as the game progresses, when characters are explicitly established as (main) characters, but are given neither depth nor adequate playing time to do justice to their assigned role. Anya Taylor Joy (“Thoroughbred”) as Casey and Spencer Treat Clark (“A lot of noise about nothing”) in the role of a surprising returnee are completely wasted in “Glass”; especially in view of the fact that M. Night Shyamalan has already categorically ruled out a continuation of the events. And so, last but not least, all that remains is to look at the technical implementation to emphasize that M. Night Shyamalan is by no means a bad director. The way he brings together the color concepts that were already consistently established in parts one and two (camera: Mike Gioulakis, “Under the Silver Lake”) and adapts to the characters in focus in every scene is a testament to how well thought out “Glass” actually is. Likewise, the finesse of including original scenes from “Unbreakable” in “Glass” without having the feeling that even a second of time has passed between the individual films.
Spencer Treat Clark returns as David Dunn’s son Joseph Dunn.
Conclusion: “Glass” is visually a feast for the eyes and strongly played. Furthermore, the actual concept of the trilogy, at least on paper, has merit. But this one doesn’t come anywhere close to the qualities of the previous films. M. Night Shyamalan was apparently too interested in just working through a big master plan, for which things like entertainment, logic and dynamics had to fall behind.
“Glass” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from January 17th.