By Stephen Sheehan.
M. Night Shyamalan was announced king of the last minute twist after the huge success of The Sixth Sense back in 1999.
He followed that up with Unbreakable, at a time when the very idea of comic book films performing well in cinema was almost laughable.
Little did we know that 17 years later he would release Split, which was also set in the same world.
James McAvoy gave an astonishing performance playing multiple characters. And, of course, there was a twist ending.
It got the internet talking and before we knew it Glass was announced. It’s the third and final instalment of what is referred to as the Eastrail Train 177 Disaster trilogy.
For those who don’t know, Glass refers to Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price. He was nicknamed Mr. Glass in Unbreakable because of his extremely fragile bones.
19 years later he is locked up in a mental institution for his awful crimes. He is soon joined by David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the man who is ‘unbreakable’.
David is captured mid-fight with Kevin ‘The Beast’ Crumb (James McAvoy) by the authorities. They are then both sent to the same institution as Mr. Glass.
All three are being monitored by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). She specialises in treating people who believe they are superheroes.
The plot is difficult to talk about any further without giving away spoilers. So let’s just say not everything goes according to plan.
And, as you would expect, there is a twist. Well, two actually.
There should also be a warning that Glass is slow and laborious.
None of the three films are your traditional comic book fare. And the thought of tying these three characters together after 19 years is an exciting one.
But Shyamalan fails at balancing the moodiness of Unbreakable and high energy of Split. An hour into the film and we are still sitting around watching flashbacks and hearing long, tedious dialogue sequences.
Along the way, the film keeps explaining how a comic book works. Just in case we haven’t seen the 500 Marvel films released in the last decade.
McAvoy was magnetic to watch in Split. And his energy feels sorely underused this time around. But when he is on screen, he is the best thing in it.
Willis suits the quite, introspective Dunn character. Yet his presence also feels wasted. Jackson isn’t given anything to do until the last hour. As you would expect he’s great as the genius madman overseeing events.
Anya-Taylor Joy’s Casey also returns, which feels unnecessary. As does Unbreakable’s Spencer Treat Clark’s Joe – the now grown-up boy who plays David’s son.
And to make up the numbers Elijah’s mother (Charlayne Woodard) also hangs around. In probably the worst old make-up you’ll ever see.
There are some entertaining scenes and some funny lines from Kevin’s 9-year-old Hedwig. But there’s no escaping that Glass is a huge disappointment. For fans of Split, it’s a must-see and you can guarantee there will be no shortage of things to talk about when it’s over.
As a director, Shyamalan has never been afraid to aim big and miss, and Glass is another one that falls into that category.
Glass opens nationwide in cinemas on Friday 18th January.