Film review: Glass

M Night Shyamalan’s Glass is the culmination of a trilogy twenty years in the making.
James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke in GlassJames McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke in Glass
James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke in Glass

Set after the events of both Unbreakable and Split, Glass follows David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a self-proclaimed superhero, as he adapts to life within a psychiatric hospital for those with delusions of grandeur, while some self-proclaimed supervillains, Mr Glass (Samuel L Jackson) and The Horde (James McAvoy), unite against him.

I was foaming at the mouth in anticipation of the release of Glass. It was my most hotly anticipated film of 2019, and yes - I am well aware Cold Pursuit (just watch the trailer) is on the horizon.

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Now it's here I feel as though many people will hate this film, with only a select few falling into my camp - head-over-heels in love. Regardless of your thoughts, it made Bruce Willis actually try to act for the first time since Looper in 2012; that is an achievement worth celebrating.

And Willis reprises his beloved, cherished and fan-favourite role with as much energy as a lethargic slug. Though while his ever-dwindling energy levels are agonising to endure when his "charisma" is the primary selling-point, David Dunn is, inherently, a tragic and subtle character, which lends itself to his talents rather nicely.

Making up for Willis' lack of acting is James McAvoy's over-over-over-acting, in what I assume was McAvoy's greatest set experience ever. His energy is infectious and the seamless switching between personalities makes him an absolute joy to watch, whether he is being adorably funny as the 9-year old Hedwig, or heartbreakingly melancholy - also as the 9-year-old Hedwig etc etc.

But no one is criticising this film's cast. And they aren't criticising Mike Gioulakis' gorgeous cinematography or West Dylan Thordson's emotionally pounding score. The film has attracted some minor criticism - nay, societal damnation - for its controversial plot. Or more specifically, the ending.

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For me, the finale coincides, both tonally and thematically, with the established universe beautifully. Where it takes some characters is certainly risky - and how you will feel about those directions is largely based on your emotional investment within this world.

Still, I will die on the hill defending this ending.

This is, at its heart, a bittersweet saga of how belief in one's self is contagious: and the immense power one's mind exudes over one's body. Both are fascinating concepts within psychology that are thoughtfully explored here, with both art and entertainment taking equal importance.

Glass will be a divisive film, but I'd argue it is never a boring one. It has it all: humour (which works), drama (which works), excellent performances (which work) and twists (which may or may not work). Ultimately, it may be a risky film, but isn't a risky failure nobler than a generic success?

This is a powerful conclusion to a trilogy of great dramas that may not be super in its genre, but advocates for the super within us all. And what is more noble than that?