Be warned, this review WILL contain SPOILERS.
The film is a sequel to Shyamalan’s previous films Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), cumulatively forming the Eastrail 177 Trilogy and serve as the final installment for the franchise. Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard reprise their Unbreakable roles, while James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy return as their Split characters, with Sarah Paulson, Adam David Thompson, and Luke Kirby joining the cast. In the film, David Dunn gets locked in a mental hospital alongside his once-rival Mr. Glass, as well as the multi-personality “The Horde,” and must escape from a psychiatrist who is out to prove the trio do not actually possess super-human abilities.
Movie goers have been clamoring for this film since the closing minutes of Split. So where did it go off the rails for some? Sadly, the ending. The twist is good, arguably even great. But what is sacrificed to get to the twist tarnishes what should have been a crowd pleasing third act.
The cast is pretty good overall. Samuel L. Jackson plays Mr. Glass pitch perfect and showcases why his intelligence is just as formidable as is counterparts strengths. James McAvoy steals the movie with his amazing multiple personalities and villainous “Beast” portrayal. Even Sarah Paulson is decent as the mysterious Dr. Ellie Staple.
Sadly, it’s Bruce Willis who is the weakest part of the movie. The character of David Dunn just feels wasted here. Willis is completely overshadowed by McAvoy and Jackson’s performances. He pretty much shows up to be drenched with water and tossed around by the beast.
There is no epic fight. No grand set piece. The characters we spent 2 previous movies with are relegated to mere stepping stones to a fourth film, Shyamalan has already said he has no desire to make.
We see characters from the previous films, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) Joseph Dunn (Spencer Treat Clark) and Mrs. Price (Charlayne Woodard) but they don’t play any significant role until the final act of the film.
This is where it gets spoiler heavy.
Joseph Dunn reveals to the Beast that Glass killed his father who was on the same train as David Dunn in Unbreakable. When the Beast finds this out he brutally attacks Glass and crushes his bones. Dunn, now calling himself, “The Overseer” fights him until the two plunge into a water tank.
Dunn is severely weakened and drowned by some S.W.A.T. Members called in by Dr. Staples. The Beast is shot and killed by a S.W.A.T marksman. And Glass is left dying from his injuries. It’s at this point that the true villain in revealed. Paulson’s Dr. Staple. Apparently her goal wasn’t to convince her patients they weren’t super powered people. It is revealed she is working with secret organization that specializes in neutralizing those with super powers through therapy and psychosis. This is done in an effort to protect mankind from the growing escalation of the super humans that are suggested to be growing in number and more powerful. It’s a great concept, if it had more time to develop. Instead, by the end of the film the real hero ends up being…Mr. Glass?!?
Glass divulges that his real plan wasn’t to escape and terrorize society like some comic book character. His true aspiration was to reveal to the world the super human community. Glass achieves this by using the same camera that monitored him within his prison of a mental institution to record the Overseer battling the Beast. In his last act, Glass had set the footage to upload to the internet in the event of his capture or death.
With the world now exposed to the rise of super humans, Dr. Staple’s mission and her organization’s plans are left in shambles. The truth is out there for the world to see.
It’s a great ending, if it was building to something more. However, as I stated earlier, Shyamalan has no plans for any further sequels set within this shared universe. So it leaves the film in a very polarizing place. It’s good but it’s not. It’s main characters were nothing but stepping stones to something bigger and better. It’s a disservice to its characters but elevated the story to an epic place.
It’s a hard film to review because on one hand you should be mad about how Shyamalan just abruptly ends the lives of his characters in such a nonchalant way. But you should also think the twist ending is something great and unexpected. The villain of the series becoming its greatest hero.
With that sad, HipsterZOMBIEJoint gives Glass a strong and very confused 6.5 out of 10. I didn’t love it, but I should really like it….I think.