Night Shyamalan shocked just about everyone when at the end of “Split” his wonderful thriller about a psycho with multiple personalities, he introduced the reveal that we were watching a secret sequel to “Unbreakable” the whole time. “Glass” is the third film in the trilogy of films that break down superhero tropes, the superhero genre, and the mythology of superheroes as a whole. Even with Shyamalan shocking people with “Split” and still being one of the first of his ilk to break apart the superhero mythology with “Unbreakable,” his last film in the series, “Glass,” promises to polarize just about everyone.
Set months after the events of “Split,” David Dunn is working as a vigilante known as “The Overseer” stopping criminals and petty thugs. When he and his son Joseph track down “The Horde,” they engage in a fight that drops them in to the hands of a psychiatrist known as Dr. Ellie Staple. Being captured and seized by her, she knows their weakness and decides to prove to them that they are delusional and have merely imagined all of their abilities due to trauma and tragedy. Now with Mr. Glass planning to break out, he allies himself with “The Horde.” Now it’s up to David Dunn, with the help of Joseph, and “The Horde’s” last victim Casey, to stop them before they cause a catastrophe in a local high rise.
“Glass” is going to be like normal M. Night films, where it will polarize many genre fans, and I can see why. M. Night doesn’t completely drop us in to an action packed reunion of the characters from his trilogy. Instead much of “Glass” is a measured exploration of the psychoses of these three adversaries, and how they perceive themselves. “Glass” is very much drawn as a meta superhero film that picks apart the superhero mythology while adhering to much of what give the tales so much substance. M. Night uses this final film to explore the idea of how everyone has a hidden magic within them that make them extraordinary, and some of us may never truly find where it lies.
All the while he also examines the idea of fate and destiny, and jumps back and forth on the themes of whether Mr. Glass, The Horde, and The Overseer are merely victims of coincidence, or are being placed around by a hidden force on some unseen chess board. Where “Glass” ultimately falls apart is in the notion that perhaps these three men just… imagined or exaggerated everything they’ve seen and done. This would all be very much a reasonable and clever attempt at a plot twist if we knew these individuals through flashbacks and “Split” and “Unbreakable” never existed. But we’ve seen their movies, we know what they’ve done, and understand their powers. It’s never quite clear what Shyamalan is trying to accomplish by including this sudden turn in the narrative where Dr. Staple is eagerly trying to convince these characters, and the audience, that maybe we didn’t see what we thought we did the entire time.
Maybe it was all just—I don’t know—delusions that they transmitted to the audience? In either case, the plot element just never lands, and Shyamalan can never quite convince us that it was an angle worth visiting, even in the final moments of the film. That said, “Glass” is a superb finisher to the “Unbreakable” storyline where just about everyone are able to flourish with fantastic performances from the collective cast. Especially from McAvoy and Paulson, both of whom approach the film with immense dramatic weight and intensity. It also hints at a grander storyline that’s yet to be told. “Glass” is a satisfying superhero drama, and a great reunion of the cast of two of Shyamalan’s best films. I hope we get to delve so much deeper in to this universe again someday.