Damn. At least according to a very large number of the reviews hitting the net, M. Night Shyamalan’s highly anticipated Glass isn’t a fitting conclusion to the trilogy that previously brought us Unbreakable and Split.
The first reviews have been arriving for Glass, which brings together Unbreakable characters Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) and David Dunn (Bruce Willis) with Split‘s Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) and Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy). Both films are among Shyamalan’s more respected works, and when Split‘s ending revealed that it was in fact a sequel to Unbreakable, the excitement was understandable. Alas, it looks like many may be in for a disappointing third chapter. At the time of writing, Glass holds a 38% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Even if there are some positive reviews to be found here and there, it appears that Glass is generally considered to be a mediocre to poor film. Critics aren’t impressed with Shyamalan’s approach here, with many pointing out that while he does craft some decent moments, the pieces simply don’t come together as a whole and the overall product pales severely in comparison with its two predecessors. No, it doesn’t seem like way we’re way down in the Shyamalan dumps of The Last Airbender, After Earth or The Happening, but it appears we’re far from his peak work. It’s a let down for what was looking like a stand-out trilogy.
Here are some snippets of what’s being said:
It adds little of value to its predecessors, offers nothing in terms of in-the-now commentary on its genre and actively pollutes the carefully constructed mythology. It is so focused on plot turns and story twists that it mostly loses sight of its characters.
… three weirdos quietly occupying a hospital, and it’s exactly as exciting as it sounds. There are multiple points throughout Glass when you find yourself wondering exactly when it is that the story is going to start, and by the point that it actually gets around to it, there isn’t anywhere near enough real estate left in the runtime to make it into anything substantial or interesting.
Glass is an otherwise laborious and heavy-handed final act, which relies on pop-cultural references and self-awareness. It is riddled with implausibilities and ridiculous situations. […] The film is rife with such absurdities that “Disregard” and “Overlook” become habitual recommendations to Shyamalan’s convoluted ego-trip and the overall proceedings feel as though he’s making it up as he goes.
As Glass progresses, you can sense Shyamalan spinning his storytelling wheels, piling on thickets of exposition and laying the groundwork for a climax that takes too long to get to. How long? Even one of the characters stops the story in its tracks to talk about the inevitable third act climax.
Yet the movie, watchable as it is, is still a disappointment, because it extends and belabors the conceits of “Unbreakable” without the sensation of mystical dark discovery that made that film indelible. “Glass” is a sequel that feels more dutiful than necessary. It turns the earlier film’s ominous pop poetry into overexplicit blockbuster prose.
… 90% of the movie is confined to the sterile interiors of the sanitarium, where all of the characters are left to rot as Shyamalan maneuvers them towards a clumsy third act confrontation (and the very unsatisfying reveals that await on the other side).
This is less an Unbreakable follow-up, and more of a continuation of Split. Worst of all, it severely tarnishes the legacy of Unbreakable, dumbing-down the dark, adult-driven elements that made that film so special, swapping them for silliness.
There are no myths deconstructed, no shocking truths exposed, and barely even any excitement on a visceral level. The signature sound effect of the film is a ticking clock; while it has very little relevance on the story, it does remind you just how slowly these 150 minutes are passing.
And some of what the more positive reviews had to say:
To be clear, Glass is a well made, well acted, gorgeously shot film that is worth a look, but for audience members invested in these stories, in these characters, it may prove a somewhat sluggish and deflating experience.
“Glass” is a good ending to the “Unbreakable” trilogy, but it may not give you the conclusion you were hoping for. You’ll probably either love or hate the ending.
Essentially a Split sequel with an Unbreakable topping, this is weaker than either of those films but still has a decent amount of entertaining and creepy sequences, most of them due to McAvoy’s high-commitment performance.
So far, not so good at all. The rest of us can decide for ourselves when the film hits cinemas. Glass will be arriving in Australia on January 17 and opens in the US on January 18.