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M. Night Shymalan is admittedly not one of my favorite film directors. While I do appreciate that he has some creativity when it comes to his films and chooses to go with his vision despite others not really agreeing with it, I feel that his films took a major dip towards being objectively bad. His latest film, Glass, is something that I personally felt was an okay, but flawed film. In it, the film concerns David, Kevin Wendell Crumb, and Elijah Price being taken to an institution whose main goal is to try to convince the patients that they are actually delusional. It does start off as something actually thought-provoking, and the explanations that were given did make sense in some ways. For the remainder of the movie though, there will be SPOILERS. BE WARNED.
So, as per usual, Shymalan loves his twists. Here, we have a whopping three twists. The first two are kind of average, but the third one was especially bad. In the first one, we learn that Kevin's father was one of the many casualties of the train wreck masterminded by Elijah "Mr. Glass" Price in the first of the trilogy Unbreakable. So in the same train accident that awakened David's potential, Mr. Glass had inadvertently created the Horde. Okay. Since Split had Kevin mention briefly that his father died in a train accident, it makes sense. But then came the more insulting twist.
It turns out that Dr. Ellie Sharpe (had to look up her name) was actually secretly a member of an Illuminati-esque organization that had apparently existed for THOUSANDS OF YEARS. WHAT!? The reason as to why there hadn't been any other individuals similar to the three aforementioned? Because this secret society was dedicated to suppressing those with superhuman abilities from emerging because that would inevitably lead to superheroes and supervillains which would endanger the lives of civilians whether by gaslighting them into believing that they are just delusional, or outright genocide. Aside from some officers having clover tattoos on their wrists, there was little to no indication that a secret organization existed. This of course goes into another issue that I have: the deaths. In short, all three characters are killed off. David is drowned in a puddle of water that isn't even an inch deep, Kevin is shot, Mr. Glass gets his shoulder shattered, etc. While I respect Shymalan for not taking the course of action that many had thought he would, the fact that he allows his characters to die in such undignified fashion is shameful.
There are other issues the film has such as Mr. Glass not appearing in the film until about 30 minutes in or how the action scenes where David and Kevin dual off are bland. I'm not expecting any MCU or DCEU style action, but at most, they jump out of a window. The young woman from Split returns and apparently holds no ill will towards Kevin for murdering her friends in the previous film. I mean, she treats Kevin almost as if he was a beaten down puppy. Yes, Kevin had his own reasons for why he became the way he was, but he is STILL dangerous because of his many personalities. But the worst has to do with the ending.
Turns out that Mr. Glass's plan involving the new building was a misdirect. He was never planning on leaving the institution. Instead, he hacks into the facility's computer surveillance cameras and uses that to download footage of David and Kevin's fight and after his death, the survivors upload it to the internet, thus many people began to wake up to the reality of supers. Okay...while Mr. Glass is undoubtedly highly intelligent, this plan doesn't really make any sense. many videos can be easily edited to accentuate what is actually going on. So, even if people saw the video of the brawl? Wouldn't it be more likely that some would assume that is a well-crafted, edited video? Would anyone seriously think anything they saw on the internet was true? It just comes off as very flawed, even for Mr. Glass.
There are some good moments in the film such as Mr. Glass's interactions with his mother and how she is really the only one to understand him. James Mc Avoy once again stole the show through his character of Kevin Wendell Crumb, and Samuel L. Jackson is once again great as Mr. Glass once he started to get back in his game. Other than that, it was disappointing, but only if you had high expectations.
The biggest mystery to me is how you\'ve managed to get around the 3000 character limit on tvtropes reviews. What is this devilry?
Oh, and I meant to say Staple. Her name was Ellie Staple.
1. I don\'t understand why people complain about the ancient conspiracy reveal. The setting runs on comic book logic, just very grounded and not sensationalized. Supervillain secret societies crop of all the time in comic books; it\'s not like this kind of thing is entirely baseless.
2. Elijah, David, and Kevin/The Beast need to have those undignified deaths because the conspiracy is dedicated to stamping out the \"comicbook\"-ness of the world. They\'re not going to do anything fancy or dramatic because it wouldn\'t be thematically appropriate for everything they believe in and represent.
3. The girls that The Beast killed in Split were not her friends. She was a loner and regarded as a freak, and had lacked the conviction previously to shoot or even blow the whistle on her sexually abusive uncle. The events of Split ended with her being willing to shoot the Beast, and subsequently she gains the inner strength to act out against her abusive uncle. She\'s obviously gonna have conflicted feelings regarding Kevin, and moreover she seems to want to reach out to Kevin, who she barely met and who had begged her to kill him.
4. Glass\'s plan wasn\'t to make everyone believe that superhumans existed, the plan was simply to get the footage out there as proof for anyone doubting their own superhuman abilities. It doesn\'t matter if the footage is ultimately written off as fake (though it obviously calls into question everything Ellie and co. tried to do previously regarding just officially saying David, Kevin, and Elijah were crazy and on drugs), what matters is just that some group of people, no matter how small, believe in it and act on their own abilities. Refuting once case of footage is one thing, refuting repeated instances as one by one, superhumans embrace their gifts? That\'s a hell of a lot harder. Not to mention the news channel shown in the ending states that there was an outbreak in the institution, and Ellie was VERY insistent that none of the other inmates see the actual fighting, which is reason enough to assume there were other superhumans locked up who had been doubting their powers who now have newfound confidence in who and what they really are.
5. The movie was never going to be some kind of dynamic, pulse-pounding battle of good versus evil. Elijah even said in Unbreakable, when David went off to fight crime, that things would not be as they were in comic books. And his triumphant battle against the Orange Man reflected that, being shot from a single camera in one long, extended cut, with David just putting him into a sleeper hold until he finally passed out. These films have always been too grounded for the kind of epic battle many people were hoping for, and it was open and honest about that from the very start.
It\'s okay to not like the movie, I understand that. But the complaints I answered are ones I feel are ultimately just nitpicks, or stemming from not understanding the themes and intent of the films.
The movie can't decide whether its realistic or fantastical. The secret society is plain and lifeless yet removes itself from reality to exempt itself from the government which its supposed to stand in for, which means the director chose a safer option to depict a movie that is supposed to be gritty. You want to go the secret society angle, at least make it interesting, you want a more standardized containment, then involve the government directly so we can at least have a direct commentary. Nevermind that the secret society just seems unmotivated. Why would anyone want to spend their free time going after super-powered people that could easily kill them? How do they maintain financial support without a consumerist goal or taxes from the government to support them? The film tries to portray them as Well-Intentioned Extremists but that angle only really works when there is a direct public threat to contend with. It would be hard to recruit anyone for the organization. The reveal is too dull to suspend disbelief and too shallow to feel immersive.
Killing protagonists is just a clean easy way to close a narrative. I remember in Unbreakable, David has the chance to kill Glass, but he doesn't do it. Instead he leaves Glass in dark, pleading justifications as to why he did what he did. He leaves Glass, with both feeling depressed and confused about what direction they are going to take. Killing cleanly ends the story as a tragedy, no more character growth or development, decisions about direction. The film is supposed to convey a message of hope, but it does so little to characterize metahuman society as a whole, it feels meaningless.
I don't like this film compared to "Unbreakable" because it perpetuates a trend in Shyamalan's new films and I'm not talking about twists, I'm talking about cynicism. David's scenes with his son and interactions with his neighbors make him relatable and sympathetic whereas this film entraps itself between two narrow paths of absolutism regarding its premise. Either the characters are crazy and the other two movies pointless or they are not crazy and all of this "you're mentally ill dialogue" is pointless. The film is trapped too long in its premise to explore the characters in the present. Also everyone dies at the end of the film, so the focus of the plot hits a dead end. Shyamalan's old movies were about the characters first. This film is about a message and its message is lukewarm at best.
The second twist makes sense to me, because it would be kind of ridiculous if David and Kevin were the only people in the world up until now to have superhuman abilities and make themselves known to the world, despite supposedly being living proof of Elijah\'s theory about there always being superhumans throughout history. The secret society, as out of nowhere as it comes, does fill in this plot hole. It also helps explain everything about Dr. Staple in general, which until then just seemed incredibly unbelievable to me: \"a psychiatrist who specializes in people who think they\'re superheroes\", the fact that a facility like that would even humor such a thing, and the amount of money it must have took to pay for the security measures around her three patients.
As for the third twist: Obviously, some people will doubt the footage and think it is fake. But keep in mind, David, Elijah and Kevin were all well-known to the public; Elijah/Mr. Glass is an infamous mass-murdering terrorist, David/The Overseer is a legendary urban vigilante, and Kevin/The Beast is a very topical serial killer. The fact that all three were being treated at that hospital and died there is likely public knowledge. And all of them can clearly be seen throughout that video footage, before and after the big fight at the end. Additionally, there are many surviving witnesses who saw David and Kevin\'s abilities firsthand. I\'ll admit I had the same thought as you about it and thought it was pretty cheesy at first, but it\'s not unreasonable to think a lot of people will see that footage and realize the truth of what they were.
While I disagree with that idea, at least I do have at least some understanding with your suggestions.
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