2 out of 5 Stars
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, James McAvoy, Sarah Paulson
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13 for violence including some bloody images, thematic elements, and language.
SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: When four cheerleaders are kidnapped, the clues lead David Dunn to Kevin Wendell Crumb.
Review: The final film in the Eastrail 177 Trilogy brings together Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), David Dunn (Bruce Willis) from “Unbreakable,” Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) and Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) from “Split” and throws a new character, Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), into the mix. The results are underwhelming, to say the very least.
When “Unbreakable” was released in 2000 the cinematic superhero landscape was radically different than it is today. “X-Men” had been released in July, but we were two years away from Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” five years from Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” and Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” wouldn’t hit theaters for another eight years. It felt fresh, inventive and was a surprising follow up to “The Sixth Sense.” It wasn’t a massive hit, but had strong DVD sales and talk of a sequel persisted for years. Just when we’d all resigned to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen, director/writer M. Night Shyamalan released “Split,” a surprise sequel that didn’t reveal its connection to “Unbreakable” until the final act.
To be perfectly clear, I didn’t care for “Split.” McAvoy and Taylor-Joy gave fantastic performances, but the script, particularly the final act, was problematic to say the least (you can find my original “Split” review here). In fact, I haven’t liked anything Shyamalan has been a part of since 2002’s “Signs.” Well, I did enjoy the time when I was accused of being paid to hate “The Last Airbender” by a reader. No one had to pay me to hate “The Last Airbender.”
Still, I hoped that “Glass” would be an entertaining superhero thriller. It isn’t. It’s a lifeless and dull piece of nonsense posing as an intelligent deconstruction of comic books that treats the audiences as if they haven’t ever watched a superhero film. Shyamalan is pointing out the clichés and tropes that exist within many superhero stories and trying to use and subvert them at the same time. He over-explains everything. There’s little to no tension. It’s a slow slog through 100 minutes of monologuing and 15 minutes of mediocre action. McAvoy goes all in, but his efforts rarely result in anything worthwhile. Willis appears to be somewhat invested, but the script gives him little to do throughout the middle section of the film. Taylor-Joy is hardly used and her part in the narrative is awkward at best. I liked Paulson’s sweaters, but didn’t care for her character at all.
Ultimately, “Glass” treads some of water, chews a lot of scenery and fails to be the thinking-man’s superhero film that it desperately wants to be.
It might also be a Cloverfield sequel. Not really.