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Glass

Year: 2019
Studio: Universal
Director: M Night Shyamalan
Producer: M Night Shyamalan
Writer: M Night Shyamalan
Cast: Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy

I was looking forward to this movie more because of what I'd hoped the entire Unbreakable / Split /Glass trilogy could have been than what it turned out to be. I loved Unbreakable after revisiting it from a different viewpoint but I was mightily let down by Split, where I found the themes too wishy washy to really make sense or establish what the movie was actually about. Glass went some way to rescuing the whole the three act story, but not quite far enough.

Schizophrenic Kevin (James McAvoy) has a new gaggle of teenage girls captive in his filthy basement hideout at the Philadelphia Zoo, taunting them about the imminent arrival of The Beast while the other personalities inside him fight for supremacy. David Dunn (Bruce Willis) owns a security supply store with his adult son, walking the streets at night to surreptitiously brush past people and try to find clues about the girls' disappearance.

And Elijah Price (Samuel L Jackson) is drugged into a constant stupor in a medical facility where Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) is determined to study people with delusions of being superheroes or supervillains. She gets her chance when David finds Kevin, who unwittingly leads him back to his stronghold. But as soon as David releases the girls the muscled, wall-climbing, growling Beast turns up to fight David off in a titanic battle of thrown tables and bone-crunching impacts.

Before David can destroy or subdue Kevin, the cops shown up and take them both captive, spiriting them away to the same hospital where Elijah is doped up. Ellie has her chance to test, interview and examine all three men, soon convincing David and Kevin that their super powers are actually the result of badly fractured minds from (respectively) the train crash David survived that we saw in Unbreakable and Kevin's abuse by his mother.

But Elijah, having outwitted everyone, isn't as medicated as he appears, breaking out of his cell and convincing Kevin and his personalities to join him and reveal the truth about superhumans to the world. He also tells David, who's now secure in the belief he's nothing special, that unless he makes good his own escape to stop The Beast, he and Kevin will destroy a new city skyscraper during its opening ceremony and kill tens of thousands.

As the three escape and start to battle, their proteges/family members – David's son, Elijah's mother, and Casey (Anya Tayor-Joy), the girl who escaped Kevin in Split – all arrive to bear witness. Only then, with bodies, smashed vehicles and bloodshed all over the hospital forecourt, does Ellie state her true nature and purpose.

The plot's all fine and makes sense and runs smoothly, but the movie's still far from perfect. For one thing, the end coda about Ellie's true motivations feels like something Shyamalan wrote on the day because he decided a fight between three superheroes wasn't a big enough finish, and it feels kind of tacked on.

The reason Casey feels so drawn to Kevin and his plight also isn't explained very well. After holding her captive with three other young women he tore to shreds, she feels some kinship with him for some reason, cradling his head in her lap and inviting him towards the light as he lays on the ground, mortally wounded.

There's a reveal about Kevin's father and why he was never around that ties the movie right back to Unbreakable, but it's kept pretty subdued, as if Shyamalan was conscious of delivering it lightly and not being turned back into the twist guy.

He then undermines other big moments the same way. We only see Elijah a few times until the onset of the third act, and only ever sitting there half asleep. When it's revealed that he's been hiding his pills, completely lucid and plotting his escape the whole time, it feels like it should have been a more dramatic, shocking moment than it was.

And look, we know Shyamalan loves comic books and that this is a comic book trilogy, but the constant references in events to tropes from comic book lore (even coming from the characters themselves) are as subtle as a slap across the face with a haddock and serve only to remind you of how essentially silly it all is.

The problems range from overarching to niggling, but they all add up. One of the biggest is that it cribs from so many other stories and movies we've seen a hundred times since comic book movies became a thing. The notion of a secret brotherhood down through the ages devoted to ridding the world of superhumans reminds you of everything from Justice League and Watchmen to the Underworld films.

And at the other end of the scale, it completely flouts the law that if you see a gun in the first act it's going to be used by the end. After talking up a globe-stopping, jaw-dropping plan to destroy a skyscraper and reveal superheroes to the world in the ensuing melee, all we

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