By Mario Ricciardi
Mic drop. I’m out. I think after the most savage headline of my career, I deserve a week off. Plot twist, I can’t. I have to meet a 500-word deadline. Not a very M. Night Shyamalan worthy plot twist huh? But come on, that’s still a pretty epic headline right? I kid you not, some guy on Rotten Tomatoes’ blurb was “‘Glass,’ it turns out, is broken.” Nice try, buddy.
For those who don’t know who M. Night Shyamalan is, he is the man behind such twists endings as the dead people in “The Sixth Sense,” the asphalt road in “The Village,” and the secret trilogy between “Unbreakable,” “Split” and “Glass.” Honestly, it’s a toss-up if that clears things up for you or not. What you should know is that his name is totally worth taking the time to learn how to spell and he is as savage as my headline.
Shyamalan is the definition of “Listen to Your Heart” by Roxette. Go look at his Rotten Tomato scores. He makes huge hits like “The Sixth Sense,” and “Signs,” then makes really bad movies like “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth,” then comes back with hits “The Visit” and “Split.” His movies have more twists than a pack of Red Vines, and on top of that his career is an actual twist.
The man takes major swings and instead of letting bad reviews get him down, he starts preparing for his next time up at bat. You usually get that kind of baseball talk over in sports with Brian Yauger, that’s how you know I’m serious. Digression: I have to take sports talk seriously because when people talk about it I have no idea what’s going on, so I have to pay close attention to the context clues so I know how to respond.
Saturday morning my mom asked me how “Glass” was and my immediate response was “interesting.” I then kicked myself for not just saying good and moving on because I then had to explain 20 years worth of films to her. It all starts with M. Night Shyamalan’s 2000 superhero film “Unbreakable.”
“Unbreakable” follows everyman David Dunn, a star athlete in college who has never gotten sick, who becomes the sole survivor of a devastating train crash. Samuel L. Jackson’s character Elijah Glass spends the movie trying to convince Dunn that he is superhuman.
Elijah was born with bones so weak that a rough shove will leave them shattered. His rationale is that if he was born with such weakness there must be someone on the other end of the spectrum born with great strength. The twist is that “Glass” is responsible for disasters like the train crash to find this person. He turns out to be the villain.
“Unbreakable” is a very honest film about people, not superheroes. It is crafted as a character study first, nodding to the mythology second. 2017’s “Split” is about the 23 warring personalities that share the body of Kevin Wendell Crumb. A handful of the personalities are trying to awaken a 24th personality called The Beast. The Beast has superhuman strength and can scale walls like Spider-Man. How do the personalities awaken The Beast? By feeding it young girls.
The film is essentially an unsettling Hitchcockesque thriller about how the latest captives try to escape. At the end of “Split,” David Dunn shows up confirming that the two films, spanning a 17-year absence, are connected. That’s the set up for “Glass,” the final entry in the trilogy.
“Glass” rounds up the three super personalities and puts them in a psychiatric ward. The villain of this film? Dr. Ellie Staple — a psych doctor tasked with convincing the three that their abilities are no more than delusions of grandeur.
In terms of review, “Glass” is an unsatisfactory ending to a trilogy that took so long to execute. Its biggest flaw is its inability to use comic book zeitgeist appropriately to balance the exposition and grounded tone of the film. The majority of the film lacks on its own, but when put next to its predecessors it’s a far cry from a worthy finale. The build up to its ending is ultimately empty.
That said, the ending is one of the most unique and thought-provoking ends to a comic book movie I have watched. It stays true to the pre-Marvel studios craze, and leaves the audience with a challenging, albeit powerful, endnote. This conclusion left me “Split” on rating the film, but I had to maintain an “Unbreakable” critical mind for this review of “Glass.”
Unbreakable: ??? (3/5 Penguins)
Split: ???? (4/5 Penguins)
Glass: ?? (2/5 Penguins)
Plot twist, this review is three reviews in one.