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Nearly two decades after Unbreakable was released, fans of the M. Night Shyamalan movie are finally getting a sequel. Well, not the one that was originally envisioned, but since it was revealed that 2016's Split exists in the same world as Unbreakable, the main characters from both movies will soon be colliding in Glass. The Eastrail 177 Trilogy capper has been one of the most anticipated movies of 2019, but now Glass reviews are trickling in, and it seems that the movie is nowhere near as enjoyable as its predecessors.
Starting off, CinemaBlend's own Eric Eisenberg gave Glass a measly 1.5 out of 5 stars in his review, saying how the movie fails to effectively expand its superhero mythology and primarily takes place within the walls of the highly-secure hospital that David Dunn, Elijah Price and Kevin Wendell Crumb are being kept in, which results in a boring story. Glass also delivers a disappointing ending that is "extremely confusing in addition to being stupid," though he did compliment James McAvoy for his reprisal of Kevin Wendell Crumb, a.k.a. The Horde.
Much like M. Night Shyamalan's earliest work, there was a lot of promise in the writer/director bringing back the world of Unbreakable in an age when superhero films are all the rage, but this one is purely a disappointing dud. As much energy and excitement as there was generated by Split, I expect the total antithesis following the release of Glass.
Next up, Uproxx's Mike Ryan stated that while he was disappointed with Glass too, he also found it to be a "fascinating" movie. In Ryan's eyes, Glass felt "like a giant middle finger to the very people who would be excited to see Glass" with its meta-deconstruction of superhero movies. He also echoed that the majority of this movie takes place within those hospital walls, meaning there's a lot of talking and barely any action.
If you are, like me, a fan of Unbreakable and Split, you do have to go see Glass. There's really no getting around that. And, once it's over, it will be a fun movie to talk about. Oh, there's quite a bit to talk about! And, honestly, I'm looking forward to what Shyamalan does next. I've enjoyed his career resurgence. But Glass is a big disappointment. Though, I do, strangely, want to keep talking about it.
Chris Evangelista from Slashfilm gave Glass a 5 out of 10 score, saying that although the first 10-15 minutes are "thrilling," that momentum is then derailed. As Evangelista sees it, the set-up of having the main characters being treated at a hospital by a doctor trying to convince them they don't have superpowers would have worked if this were the first movie in a series, but we already know Dr. Ellie Staple is wrong. Glass also is apparently less of an Unbreakable sequel and more of a Split follow-up, which explains why Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson don't have as much to do. Even worse, Glass "severely tarnishes the legacy of Unbreakable."
In his past work, [M. Night Shyamalan]'s displayed a wonderful knowledge of cinematic language, and a masterful control of the camera. But none of that is on display in Glass, which only has a few memorable shots spliced into a visually bland, flat space. This becomes even more noticeable when the director cuts in some deleted scenes from Unbreakable, which look gorgeous, atmospheric, and, well, cinematic. Where did the filmmaker who shot those scenes 19 years ago disappear to? Like Superman exposed to kryptonite, directing Glass has robbed Shyamalan of his powers. I can only hope he gets them back soon.
On a more positive note, Collider's Vinne Mancuso awarded Glass a B grade. The movie, like Unbreakable before it, "excels" at grounding these fantastical tropes in a real world context, but conversely, M. Night Shyamalan goes overboard with his clever ideas. Fortunately, the few moments of action there are in Glass are "sublime." Mancuso also mentioned that Glass' ending "is going to piss more than a few people off," although he has come around to "admire the hell out of it."
Glass is inarguably the result of a singular vision, but that vision is not just a comic book panel but a whole-ass splash page, filled with thought bubbles and dialogue boxes obscuring what is truly a captivating image underneath.
Germain Lussier from io9 acknowledged that M. Night Shyamalan manages to effectively bring the players and elements from Unbreakable and Split together at first in Glass, but once Dr. Ellie Staple is brought in, the movie slows down. In the end, Glass is burdened with "uneven tone, pacing, and thematics," thus giving audiences a movie that lacks emotion and has a message that's hard to decipher.
It feels like a movie from a filmmaker who has some amazing puzzle pieces---and yet, even after almost 20 years, no clear vision of how to put them together. There are moments of greatness which are overshadowed by a vast majority of confusing and muddled scenes and intentions. The heart and thrills of Glass' predecessors are noticeably lacking, and while there are some great surprises, it's not easy to grasp what they mean in a larger context.
Finally, Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty plastered a C+ grade onto Glass, declaring that the movie only half works and that M. Night Shyamalan seemed to have trouble weaving all of this dense mythology together. There are "a handful of terrific isolated moments," but the movie is still a lesser product than its predecessors.
That playful air of the unexpected is mostly missing from Glass. We've been here before, now there's just more of it. Yes, it's easy to be impressed by the world that Shyamalan has created and now fleshed out, but it would be nice if we were also moved to feel something too. In the end, Glass is more half empty than half full.
Overall, it sounds like if you were a fan of Split, there will be enough to appreciate from James McAvoy again, but for those of you who were looking forward to getting a worthy follow-up to Unbreakable and a satisfactory conclusion to this trilogy, you'll want to temper your expectations.
You can judge Glass for yourself when it's released to the public on January 18. As for what else is hitting theaters later this year, you can find that information in our 2019 release schedule.