Glass has been met with what some might call a split reception (wink), it acts as the final chapter to the very successful trilogy including Unbreakable and Split. As usual the ending has a twist, to which I found myself utterly invested and was rather chilling in revealing the precision of which the film is plotted.
The film brings together David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Mr Glass (Samuel L Jackson) and Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) in where the film is mainly set, Raven Hill Hospital. The three are interrogated (of sorts) by a psychoanalyst (Sarah Paulson). Who attempts to undermine their understanding of them being ‘super’ works for the most part.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass is far more than a generic sequel, it is a deeply complex character study in the psychology of the characters and our understanding of comic books, it is perhaps an exercise of exploiting cliches to find meaning behind actions. The screenplay is meticulously detailed, with incredibly meta writing and a focus on character rather than action.
Glass is masterly crafted and executed, a clear distinct vision is ever present and never loses sight. The edit is slow, taking time to delve deep into the emotions and motivations which asks you to be an active spectator, not handing you sequence after sequence of explosions and action.
Despite the superhero elements within the film it is nothing like the genre tropes we are so used to, but the film generates suspense, tension and fear in the ravishing visual style that is honestly rather breathtaking. Shyamalan’s framing is essential to the story he tells, perspective and close-ups are frequently used to the greatest of effect – really forcing you as the spectator to delve into the psychology of the mentally ‘unstable’. Perhaps the only vivid flaw of the film is in a few action scenes, specifically with Willis as the camera is mounted upon him creating a strong sense of pathos but you never feel the action. Additionally, in terms of cinematography the use of colour is striking with a heavy focus on symbolism and what colour represents.
Glass is fascinating as a story about the human condition with commentary on society and what is accepted, McAvoy is the prime example. Kevin has D.I.D, to others this is vastly frightening but to Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) she relates and understands him, all the characters have their allies to which they all connect with a mutual appreciation of accepting these ‘supers’ for who they are. McAvoy climbs from persona to persona, nearly reaching twenty ranging from the beast, to Hedgwig a child, to Kevin who is lost within the light. He is a marvel, Willis is subtle and silent whereas Jackson is a calculating ‘mastermind’ and connoisseur of comic books.
The film is incredibly ambitious. Shyamalan’s precise vision is delicately crafted within the frameworks of a comic book, yet it defies and delivers a complex psychological study of the human condition.