M Night Shyamalan was ahead of the curve when he made his rooted-in-reality superhero film Unbreakable back in 2000. Before Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movies, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he approached superpowers with an emotionally grounded reverence that would take audiences a few more years to latch on to. In the interim, Shyamalan — after an initial run of hits — went on to make a solid decade of duds, but with his 2016 comeback movie, Split, the master of twist endings demonstrated he hadn’t completely lost his touch, revealing in the final seconds that it was really a pseudo sequel to Unbreakable all along.
Glass (15) 2stars
Now comes Glass, a direct (albeit it very belated) sequel to Unbreakable that picks up the story of Bruce Willis’s invincible everyman David Dunn and Samuel L Jackson’s brittle criminal mastermind Mr Glass and unites them with James McAvoy’s Kevin Crumb, the dissociative identity disorder-plagued super-villain of Split. As it happens, McAvoy is the best thing about Glass, his bravura second-to-second personality switches dominating the story as it moves from the suburbs and warehouses of Philadelphia to the confines of an asylum, where psychiatrist Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) is trying to cure all three characters of their apparent superhero delusions. It’s an intriguing set up — something enhanced by Shyamalan’s perspective-narrowing framing choices — but as the film edges into the second hour without giving Jackson’s titular character much to do, plot-holes and coincidences start piling up and, in a curiously dated move, Shyamalan botches his big twist ending by over-explaining the mechanics of a genre with which we’re all now thoroughly familiar. - Alistair Harkness