M. Night Shyamalan returns to the world of Unbreakable two decades later in Glass. For the past 19 years, David Dunn (Bruce Willis) has been working as a vigilante superhero the media has nicknamed “The Overseer.” With the help of his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), David has been tracking down Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a serial killer with dissociative identity disorder, nicknamed “The Horde.” However, both David and Kevin are apprehended by authorities and sent to Raven Hill Memorial Hospital under the care of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who specializes on people who have the delusion that they are superheroes. Another patient at the hospital is David’s old adversary Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), aka Mr. Glass, who has been quietly planning a way to test David’s true potential.
Back in 2000, M. Night Shyamalan followed up his huge success with The Sixth Sense with Unbreakable, a film about a world where superheroes have a basis in reality. Shyamalan had always talked about his intentions of turning Unbreakable into a trilogy, which became reality when it was revealed that 2016’s Split took place in the same universe. Taking place a short time after the events of Split, Glass reintroduces us to David Dunn, who is now a widower running a home security company with his son Joseph, while moonlighting as a raincoat-wearing superhero. It isn’t long until David tracks down Kevin Wendell Crumb and faces off with his violent persona “The Beast.” However, the two are apprehended and sent to a mental health facility, where Dr. Ellie Staple tries to convince them that their so-called superpowers are pure fantasy.
It would probably be safe to say that Glass is not the type of film that many people would expect out of a sequel to Unbreakable and Split. The bulk of the film takes places at the Raven Hill Memorial Hospital, where David Dunn and Kevin Wendell Crumb find themselves cellmates of criminal mastermind Elijah Price. As per the title of Glass, Price and his superior intellect is the primary focus of the plot of this film, even though it is nearly an hour before Samuel L. Jackson appears on screen for the first time, apparently heavily sedated by the hospital. The film also brings back Price’s ever-caring mother (Charlayne Woodard), as well as Kevin Wendell Crumb’s former victim Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), who now feels great empathy for him and his condition.
I think there are going to be some that are going to be disappointed at how small in scale Glass ends up being, with the film seemingly promising things that never come to pass. However, M. Night Shyamalan does do some clever world building, which leads to a number of twists in the third act not only tie all three films together, but also ends with the promise that this could be a world we return to in the future. That all said, I do have to admit that Glass overdoes it on the expositionary dialogue, which makes sure that we know every single parallel between this story and a typical superhero narrative.
If I had to rank this film with Unbreakable and Split, I would probably have to admit that Glass would be at the bottom. However, that doesn’t make the film any less enjoyable to watch, with both Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy giving it their all with there performances and at least Bruce Willis seems remotely interested in returning to a role to played much better in Unbreakable. At the very least, M. Night Shyamalan got to finally complete his trilogy of films, even if they weren’t exactly the type of films we would be expecting.