M. Night Shyamalan ends his Eastrail 177 trilogy with mixed results.
After the surprise twist at the end of Shyamalan’s previous film Split, which tied in with the director’s earlier cult hit Unbreakable, fans of both films were understandably excited about how the story would conclude in the final film Glass.
In a cinematic world where there is a rather grounded lore to how comic books and superpowers might function in the real world, Shyamalan had plenty to play with in a sequel to both films.
Whilst great elements from both of the films come to the fore effectively here, it’s an overall mixed-bag that may leave some audience members frustrated.
First of all, in highlighting the positives, Shyamalan demonstrates his great directing ability, particularly with the cinematography. Mike Gioulakis, who was also director of photography on Split, is very creative in how the camera manoeuvres around the mental hospital where most of the film takes place. It’s visually satisfying and always keeps you engaged.
Then you have the performances which Shyamalan draws from his cast. James McAvoy is once again stellar as Kevin Wendell Crumb. He has even more personalities to convey than in Split but he manages to inhabit each one with a great amount of skill. Samuel L. Jackson is also brilliant as Elijah Price.
The overall story can also be very intriguing, in how it is a much more cerebral film than the trailers have conveyed. This is something that worked effectively in Unbreakable and continues here with how comic books relate to the real world. Shyamalan also uses unseen footage from Unbreakable in a measured way to add emotional layers to both David Dunn and Elijah Price. This works as part of a satisfying arc for Price that carries over from that film.
Issues with the script
However, where there are part of the script that works well, there are just as many issues. Mainly in how Dunn is sidelined for much of the runtime and isn’t given much of an arc at all. This is a marked issue considering the other two leads have their characters developed in a much more meaningful way.
Then there are also the plot contrivances and inconsistencies which draw you out of the film. Shyamalan doesn’t make the most of the limited setting in smoothing out potential story issues.
Finally, the ending of the film could potentially be quite divisive in the bold risks it takes to conclude the story of these characters. Nonetheless it is very intriguing.
In the end M. Night Shyamalan should be praised for managing to self-fund and complete Glass which seemed quite close to his heart.