Glass is a fascinating movie. Now, having said that, I should quickly point out that I did not enjoy this movie and I consider it, after a 19-year wait, one of the biggest personal disappointments I’ve ever experienced in a theater. Do you ever have those moments while watching a movie where you want to like it so bad that you start making mental deals with yourself? Like, “Okay, well, that scene wasn’t the best but I’m sure there’s a reason.” Or, “Okay, well, the movie is over halfway done and nothing significant has really happened, but I bet the ending will make this all worth it.” Or, “I really like what M. Night Shyamalan has done lately so I have no doubt this movie will turn it around.” Then, eventually, you just give up and accept what you’re seeing right in front of your face. That’s kind of what it’s like watching Glass.
Now, let’s get back to the “fascinating” aspect. There’s a big part of me that loves that Glass exists in the world. I do appreciate that Shyamalan was going for something here, even though that something doesn’t work. It’s almost like Shyamalan was trying to make his own version of The Last Jedi – a meta-deconstruction of what came before; in this case superhero movies – only he got too engrossed in the deconstruction part and forgot to make it entertaining.
In a way, Glass feels like a giant middle finger to the very people who would be excited to see Glass. That, on its own, is inherently fascinating. Oh, and when you’re over an hour into this movie and you’re watching yet another lecture at a mental hospital about “delusions of superhero grandeur” while at the same time wondering why you haven’t seen Bruce Willis in over 30 minutes, you’ll understand what I’m talking about here. And I want to word this as kindly as possible, but there are sequences in this movie that, how should I put it: let’s just say maybe bring a caffeinated beverage.
(Midway through Glass, a man in attendance at my screening was ejected because he was making George Costanza-esque “that’s gotta hurt” type commentary throughout the movie. Finally, after loudly exclaiming during a scene, “Elementary, my dear Watson!,” the people around him had had enough and he was removed by security. As he was being kicked out, he pleaded with the crowd that his one-liners were more interesting than what was happening in the movie at the time. I disagreed with him, but I could also imagine a jury coming back with a split decision on this one.)
It’s a weird thing, because I’ve literally seen M. Night Shyamalan wear comic book themed t-shirts before. So I don’t believe he hates comic books or comic book movies, but Glass certainly feels like it’s made by someone who both hates superhero movies and also has never seen one. And I’m pretty sure that’s not true, so that’s why this is so perplexing. Now, 19 years after Unbreakable, he finally brings all these characters – Bruce Willis’ David Dunn, Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass, and James McAvoy’s The Beast (from Split) – back together to … pretty much do nothing most of the movie except listen to speeches about superheroes in a mental hospital.