Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Luke Kirby, Adam David Thompson
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence including some bloody images, thematic elements, and language
Running Time: 129
Date: 01/18/2019
IMDB

Glass (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Breaking Even

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Depending on how ready viewers are to embrace, or forgive, M. Night Shyamalan's nerdy, talky, intertwined comic book mythos, this good-looking trilogy-closer is surprisingly enjoyable on many levels.

In Glass, the mysterious kidnapper (James McAvoy) with dissociative identity disorder from Split (2017) is still on the loose, and has newly kidnapped four cheerleaders. At the same time, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the superhero from Unbreakable (2000), finds them and has a showdown with "the Beast," the kidnapper's most dangerous personality.

Unfortunately, they are both caught and sent to a facility, where Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) is determined to convince them that they — along with Dunn's old rival Elijah, a.k.a. "Mr. Glass" (Samuel L. Jackson) — are not superior beings. Meanwhile, the kidnapper's former victim Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) goes to see him and finds a connection with his "original" personality, Kevin. But, even though Mr. Glass appears to be heavily sedated there is a plan afoot.

Following the previous two movies, Shyamalan's Glass nicely ties everything together, and while the conclusion may not be up to the level of The Sixth Sense (what is?), it's still a satisfying mini-universe on its own terms. The philosophizing about comic books doesn't particularly go very deep — it's more about how comics relate to reality than it is about the mystery of their wide appeal — but it's certainly relevant and not a little bit interesting.

As the movie goes on, the explanations for things go on a little too long, but the real trick of the movie lies in three secondary characters: Kevin's former kidnap victim Casey (Taylor-Joy), David's son (Spencer Treat Clark, reprising his childhood role from the 2000 film), and Mr. Glass's mother (Charlayne Woodard). The way these three view their respective super-beings underscores just how important the extraordinary and the spectacular are to all of us in our everyday lives.

As always, Shyamalan's directorial technique is clean and his shots are well-staged and well-chosen, but few would argue that anything in Glass is more amazing than McAvoy's performance, embodying his character's various personalities in vivid, emotional moments.

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