It was supposed to crown one of the biggest comebacks in Hollywood history. After early glory and promises of greatness with the Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and The Village, Shyamalan suffered a spectacular decline with The Last Airbender and The Lady In The Water. Audiences tired of his trademark huge twists while critics savaged his incoherent storytelling. 2017’s Split was a huge hit with the added bonus that it was a secret sequel to Unbreakable. Glass was expected to wrap up the twisted superhero fable while restoring the director’s prestige and reputation. The first round of views, however, are not good, with the director and Willis singled out for criticism.
Indiewire: “A low-budget, high-concept superhero movie that’s as clever in its design as it is joyless in its execution, M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass is meant to be seen as some kind of demented self-portrait… The trouble with “Glass” is that its mildly intriguing meta-textual narrative is so much richer and more compelling than the asinine story that Shyamalan tells on its surface.”
Entertainment Weekly: “Shyamalan doesn’t seem to know what to do with his dense mythology once he’s convened his long-awaited superhero loony-bin summit meeting… 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.”
Gizmodo: “Glass is a major disappointment. McAvoy is pretty incredible as Kevin, the man with dozens of personalities living in his body. He effortlessly changes between them in a true powerhouse performance. Bruce Willis, however, is on the opposite side of the spectrum. His character, David Dunn, was well established as stoic in Unbreakable but in Glass, it’s on another level. Even in the character’s biggest moments, it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking or what his motivations are. As a result, there’s little connection to the one true protagonist. Then there’s Samuel L. Jackson, who is devilishly fun as Mr Glass but is ultimately only given a few moments to truly shine.
“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.”
THR: “As a trilogy-closer, it’s a mixed bag, tying earlier narrative strands together pleasingly while working too hard (and failing) to convince viewers Shyamalan has something uniquely brainy to offer in the overpopulated arena of comics-inspired stories…. Like Unbreakable and Split, Glass wants its extraordinary feats to be as grounded as possible in the real world. The tension between wish-fulfilment heroics and realism was tantalizing in Unbreakable. Here, it’s more confused.”
Variety: “It’s good to see Shyamalan back (to a degree) in form, to the extent that he’s recovered his basic mojo as a yarn spinner. But Glass occupies us without haunting us; it’s more busy than it is stirring or exciting.”
Time Out: “It’s both stupefying and a little sad to realize that this is the movie Shyamalan wanted to make. The Sixth Sense, still his only great film, is also a therapy psychodrama, but whereas that ghost story reckoned with bedrock matters of loss and child abuse, Glass assumes that we’re all going to lean in at dialogue about comic books, origin stories and limited editions….. It lacks a real climax, yet has room for multiple scenes set in nerdy comic-book stores, plus a lengthy and unnecessary cameo for himself.
GLASS IS OUT ON JANUARY 18