Stained Glass

Another Shyamalan Ding-Dong


As Logan Paul’s parents almost certainly thought on his 19th birthday, “We waited 19 years for this?” If you liked Unbreakable, a super-serious superhero movie made just before such things were weekly occurrences, whatever sequel you had written in your head was infinitely better than the one M. Night Shyamalan actually just made. That first film felt like someone steeped in comic book lore finally expressed the nearly primal connection some feel to colorful modern quasi-mythology. Glass feels like it was written by someone who has literally never read a comic book. Or a book. Or words of any kind.

Picking up in the immediate wake of Split, an enjoyably weird stealth sequel that retroactively was little more than fool’s gold, Glass sees David Dunn (Bruce Willis) hunting down Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy). The former has been dubbed “The Overseer” for his vigilantism, and the latter is called “The Horde” because he is a gigantic fan of A&E’s TV show Hoarders. The two are captured by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychiatrist who believes she can cure their delusion that they are super-powered. She already has one patient, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), who strongly prefers to go by “Mister Glass.” You know this because he tells someone his first name is “Mister” and last name is “Glass,” which is not how names work.

The bulk of the movie is spent inside an asylum, with David pensively pouting, Kevin flitting between his billion personalities and Mister Glass constipatedly plotting. Then comes the third act, which dispenses such an unparalleled amount of nonsensical “twisty” bullshit that M. Night Shyamalan the director should never again speak to M. Night Shyamalan the writer. Sometimes using literal neon signs as foreshadowing, Glass farts its way to an ending that somehow manages to be both far, far too serious and far, far too silly.

From the worst prosthetics and makeup this side of a Tyler Perry movie used on Mister Glass’s mom to the fact that David Dunn gets like 20 minutes of screen time after nearly 20 years, nothing in Glass vaguely flirts with satisfaction. Only one somewhat compelling reveal in Shyamalan’s trademark “Bucket O’ Twists” that he chucks at the audience could have theoretically been fascinating, were it treated as a developed plot point earlier.

Most frustratingly, Shymalan’s cinematic language communicates an undeniable condescension. It’s not that he’s obsessed with surprises; it’s that he thinks viewers are dumb enough to be blown away by his tepid, outright lame revelations. Storytelling isn’t a one-directional baby-birding of narrative from the beak of an auteur to the hungry mouths of newborn idiots. Ideally, it’s a relationship built on trust and dialogue. Even the credits, which hilariously list the names of the other films in the series, feel weirdly arrogant. Unbreakable was a classic. Split was B-grade charming. Glass is a misfire that hurts in a profoundly worse way than anything else Shyamalan has done. And he made Marky Mark run from a ficus.

Grade = D-


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