If you haven’t noticed, After Earth is taking a beating with the critics. Currently sitting at 12% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (with a favorable review from yours truly), the movie didn’t connect with a large critical base, who took their knives out for the director as well as his stars, Will and Jaden Smith. Whenever Smith has a disappointment, he tends to drift back to a proven commodity, following up Seven Pounds with Men In Black 3, for example. Maybe it’s time M. Night Shyamalan did the same?
The director sat down with MTV News recently while promoting After Earth, and in the above clip mentioned that he’s closer to cracking the code on a sequel to his admired superhero origin story Unbreakable, with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. As you might recall, the movie ended with Willis recognizing his power, and acknowledging Jackson’s Mr. Glass as a rival. It seemed to set up a sequel … but the follow-up film never came.
Shyamalan tells MTV that the sequel is on his “agenda,” but that he needs to find an entry point that feels right.
"As long as it can be connected to something that I'm feeling right now, then I'll work for me, it'll be valid and I'll enjoy it,” he says. “If it feels like a mechanical thing where I'm doing it because it'll be profitable or successful, then that'd just be so hollow.”
Should he do it? I’m torn. At the time, I loved Unbreakable, and thought that a sequel is/was a no-brainer. Plus, superhero films are beyond the rage right now. But when I stop and think about what Unbreakable 2 would look like in a post-Avengers world, I think Night could just be setting his fans up for more disappointment. He’s not the same director he was when that film came out. Say what you will about Shyamalan, but he’s organically changing as a storyteller. You just might not like what he is becoming.
So Unbreakable 2 still might happen. But after The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth, do you still want it?