- Warning: There are minor spoilers ahead for “Glass.”
- “Glass,” a sequel to both 2000’s “Unbreakable” and “Split” is in theaters Friday, January 18.
- The sequel has stand-out performances from James McAvoy and Samuel L. Jackson. While the movie is enjoyable, the ending may leave some fans unsatisfied.
“Glass” is in theaters later this month and will reunite Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in a sequel to cult favorite “Unbreakable” about 19 years after its release.
The unexpected followup to M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero movie and psychological thriller “Split” picks up where the 2017 movie left off with the super strong David Dunn (Willis) tracking down Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) and his multiple personalities as they continue to kidnap cheerleaders.
The two eventually wind up in an institution for people who believe they have super powers. There, they meet Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who thinks she can cure them. But they’ll also discover Mr. Glass (Jackson), who’s more interested in teaming up with Kevin’s alternate identities to reveal the existence of heroes and villains to the world.
INSIDER reviewed the movie early with a small group of fans. Does the conclusion to Shyamalan’s Eastrail 177 trilogy live up to the hype? While the film received healthy applause and is a mostly satisfying watch for its strong performances, it has an ending that will definitely leave audiences talking (for better and worse).
Why you should care: “Glass” has returning cast from “Unbreakable” and “Split” and wouldn’t have come together without Disney’s permission.
When “Split” hit theaters in 2017, no one knew it was connected to Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” until the score for the 2000 film started playing near the movie’s end and Willis’ character showed up briefly on screen. The film was expected to be a standalone, so it was a complete surprise not only to learn it was connected to another one of Shyamalan’s movies, but that it would spawn a sequel.
The journey getting here hasn’t been easy though, and that’s a major reason to see this. In order to use Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson’s characters from “Unbreakable” in the sequel, Universal had to receive permission from Disney, which distributed the first film. As a result, Disney is releasing the film internationally while Universal handles the film’s domestic distribution.
And it’s not just Willis and Jackson who are returning. Expect to see Spencer Treat Clark, who played David’s son Joseph, all grown up here along with Charlayne Woodard reprising her role as Elijah’s mother. Anya Taylor-Joy also returns from “Split” and you’ll get to see all of the major characters interact.
Another reason to see this? The film is produced under the Blumhouse umbrella, which has put out recent hit after hit from “Get Out” and “Paranormal Activity” to the recent “Halloween” sequel.
Read more: How ‘Split’ pulled off its incredible twist ending
Do I need to watch the other two films before seeing “Glass”? No, but it’s worth watching “Unbreakable” before or afterward.
If you don’t have time to catch up on “Unbreakable” and “Split” before seeing “Glass,” no big deal. “Glass” doesn’t assume that you’ve seen the two films in the franchise that came before it. It will fill you in along the way with what you need to know.
If you’re a fan of the films, you’ll be rewarded for watching 2000’s “Unbreakable” again. Several comic images and lines of dialogue appear to have new meaning after a screening of “Glass,” and suggest the sequel was hinted at all along.
What’s hot: Great performances from Willis, Jackson, McAvoy, and Paulson along with deleted scenes from “Unbreakable.”
“Glass” is all about the talent. McAvoy once again seamlessly transitions from one character to the next as a mentally ill young man with dissociative identity disorder. In seconds, he goes from an uptight older woman named Miss Patricia to any of his other 23 personalities, which include the return of naive, plucky nine-year-old, Hedwig. This time around McAvoy shows off a range of even more of his identities.
The only stars who come close to outshining him are Jackson and Paulson. For a good third of the film, Jackson outacts anyone sharing his scenes without even saying a word. His Mr. Glass just sits in a wheelchair, staring blankly, and periodically twitching his eye uncomfortably. His quiet stares do all the talking for him. Paulson always excels in whatever role she takes. Per usual, don’t expect to see her play a one-dimensional psychiatrist. There’s a bit more to her character.
If it weren’t for the magnetic performances, it may have been easy to get a bit bored. The cast spends a majority of their time inside the psychiatric facility. If your expectations were to see The Beast and Mr. Glass fully team up to wreck havoc on the world, you might want to simmer down a bit. Though you do get a good fight scene between McAvoy’s beast and Willis’ vigilante, “Glass” isn’t that kind of superhero movie. One of the mainstays of this trilogy is that it delivered a superhero story grounded in reality without heavy CG and effects and the series’ conclusion is no different.
One of the most interesting aspects of “Glass” is that it seamlessly incorporates deleted scenes from 2000’s “Unbreakable,” one of which involves a heartbreaking flashback sequence Shyamalan said was tough to cut on the film’s home release since it took two days to film. Unless you’re a big fan of the cult film, you may not have realized it was a cut scene. It’s a cool moment to see on screen.
What’s not: Viewers may have issues with two aspects of the villain’s storyline and the controversial ending. If you’re a rabid fan of the series, a twist may be too predictable.
After “Split” debuted in 2017, some critics and health experts spoke out about the film’s misrepresentation of persons with dissociative identity disorder. Those conversations may come up again. In addition, I expect to see some criticism of the film for stockholm syndrome, involving the return of Casey’s character, a survivor of sexual abuse, from “Split.”
If the previous films are fresh in your mind going into “Glass,” it’ll feel like there’s a lot of regurgitation of the previous films. It’s fine, but it may leave you wanting something a little bit more. If you plan to rewatch the films, I would suggest waiting until after seeing “Glass,” otherwise you’ll probably be able to predict one of the movie’s twists. I’ve already seen some fans correctly guess some reveals in the film online.
And that’s why as much as I enjoyed “Glass,” I don’t think it’s better than “Unbreakable” or “Split.” The former two are good movies about a broken marriage and abuse that not only stand alone, but hold up upon multiple viewings and contain twists that feel truly earned. When the big reveal comes in “Glass,” you may feel a little robbed.
The ending in “Glass” feels as if it may have been slightly manufactured as the result of Disney sharing in the release of this sequel. If there were followups — and Shyamalan has insisted there most likely won’t be — I have to imagine Universal would once again need to work with the Mouse House to strike a deal to get anything made.
Overall: If you’re a fan of “Unbreakable,” “Split,” or Shyamalan in general, see this.
“Glass” is a good ending to the “Unbreakable” trilogy, but it may not give you the conclusion you were hoping for. You’ll probably either love or hate the ending. Watched together with “Unbreakable” and “Split,” “Glass” neatly wraps up the trilogy while leaving the door open for a potential sequel if Shyamalan ever did want to revisit the world.
See this one for McAvoy and Jackson’s scene-stealing scenes both together and separately. I’m sure regardless of anyone’s feelings on Shyamalan’s twist, “Glass” will make a lot of money.
“Glass” is in theaters Friday, January 18, 2019. You can watch a trailer for the movie below.
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