It might be overly ridiculous, but given time, it offers moments of great cinema and great excitement

M. Night Shyamalan was never going to make watching Glass easy. The third film in what is now being called the ‘Eastrail 177’ trilogy changes the franchise’s tune once again as Shyamalan looks to utilize his characters in completely different style of cinema to how we have seen them appear before. In true Shyamalan fashion there are multiple twists, turns and surprises, but Glass is the most expansive of the trilogy, offering a unique film even if its characters have been around for nearly 20 years.

Following as a double sequel to 2000’s Unbreakable and 2017’s Split, Glass is a different style of super hero film to the features 2019 will see in for its remaining 11 months. Caught and detained by psychologist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), The Overseer (Bruce Willis), Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) and The Beast (James McAvoy) undergo psycho-analysis tests in an attempt to remove them of their ills and the belief that they have super powers. However, with the three together for the first time, a plan is hatched to remove themselves from the facility, and show the world what they are truly capable off.

Inherently, Glass is fairly ridiculous. Too much of its intricate plot relies on minor details and moments to swing it in the direction of plausibility, even with its main characters exposing their ‘superpowers’. Unbreakable had a distinct tone that set it aside from other Shyamalan films, proving he can be a visionary film maker. Split was encouraging, with a wild but impressive idea backing it, showcasing as a strong piece of cinema. But Glass seems to have been trapped between the two, expanding its ideas, but suffering both tonally and artistically, losing much of its entertainment value.

Glass

That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, but it does leave Glass clawing for its twists to work, and despite them hitting, they are perhaps too extreme with too little explanation. There shouldn’t be a reliance on these to make the feature play out right, but there is, and that does become an issue, however minor or petty it seems.

McAvoy is on better form than even Split, showing how variable his acting can be, possibly more than ever before, but Jackson and Willis are largely what is now expected of them in their late-career work. The three are however held together by a strong and mysterious performance from Sarah Paulson, who allows the others to show off their characters, whilst standing firm with her own mind games and power pulling.

Glass is a Shyamalan film and that cannot forgotten – This is the man who created After Earth and The Last Airbender after all. But as his filmography proves so well, he is a diverse film maker, and Glass is no exception to that. It might be overly ridiculous, but given time, it offers moments of great cinema and great excitement, just not as much as its original franchise mash up may have suggested.

3/5

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