Glass (2019) | Discussion, Recommendations and Spoilers | Film Review
Glass (2019) is a superhero drama written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Glass (2019) is the third and final movie in a trilogy of films written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The first movie in the saga was Unbreakable (2000) and the second movie was Split (2016).
In the first film, Unbreakable (2000), we learned that superheroes and villains can be borne from people who appear completely unassuming and normal to people who appear frail, weak, and broken. In Unbreakable (2000), we were introduced to two individuals, David Dunn and Elijah Price. After David Dunn survives a train crash which kills everyone on board except for him, he begins to realize (with the help of Elijah Price) that he has exceptional abilities. As David begins to test his abilities, he realizes that he has the ability to sense other's evil deeds through touch. As he tries to help the people he sees in his visions, he strengthens his friendship with Elijah.
After some time, David meets with Elijah and Elijah deliberately asks David to shake his hand. When David shakes Elijah's hand, he has visions which show him Elijah is responsible for the tragic train crash David survived and is also responsible for several other terrorist acts. Elijah explains to David that he realized there had to be a reason for his suffering (Elijah was born with Type 1 Osteogenesis Imperfecta or Brittle Bone Disease), and that for every villain there is a superhero. Elijah explains that he committed the terrorist acts to find a person who was abnormally strong and impervious to destruction (essentially Elijah's opposite).
David is horrified by Elijah's confession and subsequently reports Elijah's crimes to the authorities. We see that Elijah is committed to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane at the end of the film.
Although at the time Unbreakable (2000) seemed like a stand-alone film, there was talk that Split (2016) was a surprise sequel to Unbreakable (2000), even though it didn't really seem like it at first.
In Split (2016), we are introduced to Barry, a fashion designer who is seeing a therapist named Dr. Karen Fletcher. As Dr. Fletcher speaks with Barry, we learn that Barry is really Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Dr. Fletcher has identified 23 different identities and worries that the more dominant personalities, Hedwig, Patricia, and Dennis, are preventing Kevin from coming forth.
It is revealed that when Dr. Fletcher cannot get the personalities to relinquish control, she can state Kevin's full name, which forces the personalities to let Kevin come forth into what the personalities deem "the light".
Outside of therapy, we see Kevin's personality Dennis kidnap three teenage girls and bring them to his home, which appears to be a series of rooms in a older building of some sort. One of the girls, Casey, helps the other girls to defy Dennis so Dennis will not try to molest or abuse them. Casey repeatedly tries to manipulate Kevin's personalities in order to facilitate her and her friend's escape. Some of the personalities become aware of Casey's manipulations and separate her from her friends, which makes Casey even more desperate to escape. Casey soon learns from one of the personalities (Hedwig), that there is a 24th personality named "The Beast", who will hurt those who have been deemed unhurt (who have not suffered any trauma).
Eventually Casey meets "The Beast". After he kills and eats her friends, he chases Casey to a cage where she has locked herself in. "The Beast" sees scars on Casey's body which were inflicted by her guardian, determines that she has suffered severe trauma and decides that he will let her live. Casey escapes the building to discover she has been under the Philadelphia Zoo the entire time.
After Casey is safely tucked away in a police car, we learn that Kevin has escaped authorities and the dominant personalities are planning to introduce "The Beast" to the world. The news has dubbed Kevin and his personalities "The Horde".
At the end of the film, we see many people in a diner watching the news and hear a woman asking another person about the person many years earlier who also received a nickname from the press. We then see David Dunn looking pensive, saying the man's name was "Mr. Glass", thus giving us one of the more obvious clues this was a sequel to Unbreakable (2000).
What Happened to Everyone Since Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016)?
Glass (2019) gives us an update to what everyone has been up to since we last saw them. We learn that Elijah Price has been sent to a mental institution for the criminally insane for the last 19 years. We learn that David Dunn has continued to don his green rain poncho and fight crime. We also see that Kevin Wendell Crumb's dominant personalities have kidnapped four teenage girls to feed to "The Beast".
Although it seems as if things are over between David and Elijah, David's crime-fighting ways have come to the attention of the authorities and they are out to get him as they do not tolerate vigilante justice. David's son Joseph warns David that the authorities are tightening their search and asks his father to scale back on his search for criminals, specifically for the person who kidnapped the four teenage girls.
David ignores his son's advice and goes out searching for the kidnapped girls. He eventually comes into contact with Kevin, who is walking around the area as Hedwig. As David brushes by Hedwig, he has a vision of the girls and goes into a nearby building, where he sets them free. David soon encounters "The Beast", who has returned from his outing and engages in a brutal fight.
The fight soon lands both men outside and they are soon apprehended by the police. They are then both sent to the same mental institution as Elijah Price.
In order to safely incarcerate David, the facility has implemented a water system that sprays water on David if he tries to escape. In Unbreakable (2000), we learned that water is David's one weakness, which formed due to an incident when he was young where he was drowned by a group of children. In order to safely incarcerate Kevin, the facility implemented a light fixture that flashed when Kevin got too close to the door. The flashes of light are meant to force Kevin's personalities to retreat one at a time and force another personality to come forth. Finally, we learn that Elijah has been drugged the entire time he has been in the facility because his strength is his intelligence.
We learn that a doctor at the institution who specializes in superhero complexes will be treating all three of the men. Dr. Ellie Staple talks to each of the men separately at first, using empathy and a soft voice to try to build a rapport with them. She tells them that she only has three days to convince them that they are not superheroes or villains or they will each have a procedure which will make them more docile.
Well, that kind of sounds like a LOBOTOMY, now doesn't it? It's not really a lobotomy of course, but any procedure that is performed against your will sounds absolutely horrible, and it put a fire under the wheelchair of Elijah to put his plan into action before all three men were changed irrevocably.
Let's Have a Discussion About That Plan
***(Major Spoilers Ahead)
We learn that Elijah has been hiding his medication in the arm of his wheelchair and getting out at night. It's never really explained how he has been getting out, but he's an unmedicated genius, so maybe they didn't think it needed to be explained.
After a group therapy session where Dr. Staple tries to manipulate each of the men into thinking that their superpowers are easily explained away by watching videos and using tricks anyone could use, Elijah realizes that he needs to talk with Kevin and David in order to facilitate an escape from the mental institution.
The men hatch their plan and escape. Elijah kills an orderly who visits his room, then goes to Kevin's room and disables the light contraption. Elijah speaks to David through an intercom in David's room and convinces him that Dr. Staple is wrong and David should prove to himself that he has superpowers and can break down the metal door to his room.
With Kevin pushing his wheelchair, Elijah and Kevin make it out of the institution, only to make it to the parking lot where Elijah watches "The Beast" fight and kill several institution guards
We see David escape his room and make it to his belongings, where he dons the green rain poncho once more. Before he leaves, he discovers Elijah's plan for the world to see David and Kevin fight at the opening of twin high-rise buildings in Philadelphia. David escapes to the parking lot and begins to fight "The Beast" in order to protect innocent bystanders and to prevent Elijah and Kevin from making it to the high-rise buildings.
The Ending (or, as I like to call it, what the hell happened?)
We soon learn that Elijah never planned for the trio to make it to the high-rise buildings. Instead, he planned to use the institution's many cameras to record the fight between Kevin and David.
Elijah's plan was for the world to be able to see superpowers and believe that superheroes and villains are real. His ultimate goal was for more superheroes and villains to be able to be borne into the world by believing that superhumans are real and all around us.
So this sounds good right? I mean, what could have gone wrong? Well, EVERYONE DIED. Elijah, David, and Kevin. Dead, dead, dead. More dead than a Milli Vanilli concert in 2019. As in, Kevin is brought to the light and gets shot, David gets drowned in a pothole puddle in the the parking lot, and Elijah bleeds out after his shoulder and ribs (maybe more, but I didn't have an x-ray machine with me) are crushed to powder by "The Beast".
You might ask? WHAT?! Yeah, because I did. So what happened? Well, apparently Elijah knew they'd probably all die in the parking lot. I mean, I'm pretty sure Kevin and David would have made different plans if they knew that was Elijah's plan all along. Maybe they'd have made plans to go get Philly Cheesesteaks or take in an Eagle's game; certainly not "drown in a parking lot pothole puddle" or "get shot by a cop".
What's With the Club Tattoos?
We find out that Dr. Staple is actually part of some secret organization that eliminates potential superheroes and villains. She has a tattoo of a black club on her wrist, which indicates she's part of the organization which I call the Club of Clubs. Pret-ty original! The organization uses Dr. Staple to either convince superheroes and villains that their powers are just a figment of their imagination and can be easily explained away. If this strategy doesn't work, Dr. Staple and the Club of Clubs either have the people eliminated by killing them or performing medical procedures to eradicate their powers.
During the parking lot fight (sounds like the outside of a Taco Bell), David is taken into a tank of water by Kevin and he almost drowns. As he recovers, one of the Club of Clubs members who is dressed as a cop, shoots Kevin in the stomach and then drowns David in a pothole parking lot puddle. As David is being drowned, Dr. Staple approaches him and tells him that they eliminate superheroes and villains to make it "fair" because there can't be gods among men. That's rich. I mean really, with them playing God and deciding who lives and dies based on their extraordinary abilities, who are they to act like they are innocent and in the right?
Mr. Wheelchair Gets His
Just when we think everything has gone to complete crap, we learn that Elijah wrote some code before leaving the institution. His code is pretty funny because he wrote comments that explain to the person examining the code exactly what he was up to. An employee at the institution tells Dr. Staple that Elijah wrote code that allowed the video recorded on the cameras in the institution to be uploaded to an unknown location.
We later see Joseph Dunn, Casey, and Elijah's mom in a train station and learn that they uploaded the video to the public. We see that the Club of Clubs and Dr. Staple are devastated by the reveal and that the general public are amazed and shocked by what they've seen on the video.
What Did I Think? Discussion Time
I really liked the movie up until everyone died. I thought it was such an abrupt ending and I like endings with a twist when they fit the story, but I didn't think this ending fit at all. It's almost like someone tacked on an ending to a story someone else didn't know how to finish and it really made me dislike it.
To me, the best parts of the film were the acting of James McAvoy and Samuel L. Jackson. Both portrayed very complicated, sometimes evil, sympathetic characters. There is something so fragile about each of them that you just want to protect them, even though they have homicidal tendencies. When they died, I felt like the movie collapsed.
The other characters just didn't draw me in like Kevin and Elijah did. They gave them some character development, but they just weren't magnetic and charismatic like James McAvoy and Samuel L. Jackson.
I also thought the Club of Clubs needed to be addressed sooner than it was to clue you into the idea that maybe they were going to win at the end either by completing the surgeries, convincing the men that they were not superheroes or villains, or killing them. Then the twist would have been that they really didn't win because Elijah had outsmarted them. It seemed like the biggest twist intention was to have all three die. I think if we had kind of known they were going to die in the beginning to middle of the movie, the twist at the end of Elijah outsmarting them and circumventing their bullshit plan to subdue superheroes and villains would have been all that more impactful.
So, all in all, I liked Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), but I did not end up liking the end of Glass (2019). I think all the characters deserved a better ending than that.
If You Love This Film, You Might Also Love:
The Sixth Sense (1999)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
I hope that you liked this review. What did you think of this movie? Did you like it? Did you dislike it? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!