Glass is a Good Movie About Broken People


Once again M. Night has made a film that is deeply misunderstood by the critical elite, who again and again prove they’re not always up to snuff when it comes to being as objective as possible in critiquing the work of talented filmmakers. On occasion they succumb to group think, to that enjoyable temptation of eye-rolling mockery, that feeling they’re the smartest guy or gal in the room. You can always sense when it’s the latter. You disagree with them openly and get a childish GIF or one-word bit of condescension in return. After all, they are paid critics and you’re only Joe moviegoer or Jane blogger. They had their knives out this time out and it shows. Glass is not a perfect film, but it’s ambitious, more than a little audacious, and incredibly well-made. The following is a rebuttal to a recent article at CinemaBlend written by Eric Eisenberg.

Why didn’t the Black Clover Society just kill them at the start?

Eisenberg answers his own question: their initial plan was to try to convince them their superpowers aren’t real. The group obviously fancies themselves as heroes and societal gatekeepers, therefore their goal is to meet their ends humanely and only resort to violence if Plan A falls through. This needs no further explanation.

Why would David Dunn ever believe superpowers are just in his mind?

Glass is about broken people. A young man broken into fragmented pieces of himself due to childhood trauma, a smart man shouldering the wear and tear of a devastating disease, and an old man broken by the death of his wife and the weight of responsibility he places on himself to protect his fellow man. Going back to Unbreakable, Dunn always doubted himself, be it his own lot in life as a security guard and ineffectual husband and father or the nature of his own newfound abilities. He’s always wanted to believe he was ordinary and, frankly, the nature of his do-gooding leaves much room for doubt. From chucking jackasses to strangling kidnappers, he ain’t exactly out here lifting locomotives. And his visions? Given that it’s all in his mind, and his talent for eyeballing petty thieves as a security guard, I’d say it’s highly likely that Dunn could be temporarily convinced that it might be a merely human gift.

Why would the audience ever believe superpowers are just in the characters’ minds?

Erm…because Ellie Staple had some pretty damn good information to back up her argument. I know my wife and I wondered about it ourselves. Kevin Wendell Crumb had scores of rock-climbing tutorials on his computer? He bent a rusty cage from the 1800s? At the time, the characters and the audience are assuming that Staple is of sound character and moral judgement, not to mention a simple psychologist. We assume these factoids are indeed facts, and they’re quite damning at first. Additionally, Shyamalan is using our own collective desensitization to wild superpowers on screen to make us question what we think we know about David and Kevin’s relatively tame abilities. Compared to Thor and Doctor Strange, it’s all a little quaint, and suddenly we’re questioning the last two films. And that’s the point. The audience is never led to believe it’s all a ruse, we’re only meant to question it.

How did the police know where Kevin and David were?

First of all, it’s noted by Joseph that the police are actively looking for the the Horde and Overseer, so it wouldn’t take much. Second of all, who cares?

Why is Joseph so excited about Kevin’s Dad if he doesn’t know Mr. Glass and the Horde are teaming up?

Whether it’s the film’s own fault or my own, it was unclear to me why Joseph initially shows up at the hospital in the third act. It’s possible he was there for a myriad of reasons and the epiphany of Kevin’s Dad only became urgent when he discovered what was happening between the Horde and Mr. Glass. That being said, Glass is not perfect and this could very well be a plot hole.

Why doesn’t Kevin know that Mr. Glass is responsible for killing his Dad?

Because Kevin is rarely given “the light” and is a deeply repressed human being full of regret, longing, and probable memory loss. And the rest of the Horde wouldn’t bother looking into it. This criticism is reaching based on one too many assumptions.

Why is David’s vision of the Black Clover Society surveillance footage of a restaurant?

Incredible nitpicking, but okay, I’ll bite. From Unbreakable to Glass, David’s visions have always been askew point-of-view shots of various happenings, and often look as if they’re shot from a security camera somewhere. They’re not always explicit and sometimes require “interpretation,” as David puts it in another scene. Also, in case I’m misunderstanding the writer, it’s not literally security footage.

Why is the titular character seemingly catatonic for half of the film?

Makes for a good little rug pull, and because the woolly mammoth of a rug Elijah places underneath those hapless employees is half the plan and disturbingly brilliant. Doesn’t matter that we know it’s a ruse from minute one, it’s still a helluva lot of fun. Don’t blame the movie for a bad or misleading title.

Why does this story never get to the skyscraper?

These stories have never been about traditional superhero pyrotechnics. They’ve been stripped down to their bare essence, rendering comic book mythology as realistic as possible, even outdoing the hyper-real fisticuffs of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy in that regard. It ain’t cheap if you ain’t expecting an action film, and it would’ve been silly to expect such things on the heels of Split and Unbreakable, both of which are more or less character studies. The third act is about dramatic stakes vis-a-vis the characters, not how they measure up power for power surrounded by a larger-than-life landmark.

Why would anyone care about the released footage?

In a culture that is currently obsessed with superheroes, possible evidence of such in the real world would be a game-changer. Tame as they are, David and Kevin do more on camera than hurl each other around. It’s heavily implied that such footage includes everything from inside the hospital as well. I think footage of one man scaling a ceiling and another breaking down a steel door would no doubt make the internet rounds. As for 19 years of the Overseer, it’s not apparent that anyone has ever had video proof of what he’s capable of, nor is it clear whether he’s regarded by the public as a “superhero.”

Did anyone want to see this trilogy end with David drowned in a puddle?

Can’t say I expected it, but that’s what I love about M. Night Shyamalan. When he’s on his game, he can surprise people like the best of them. The choice to kill David Dunn feels appropriate for the story being told which, as it turns out, is an origin story. Not for Dunn, not for Kevin Wendell Crumb, and not for Elijah Price, but for the world at large coming to understand what’s possible in this strange, cruel universe. And if it’s too much to believe that a series of tame videos would convince a majority of people of such things, well, they only need to convince a few. And if the last five years are anything to go by, people are ready to believe in the impossible.

Glass succeeds like any good story: it’s well-told. Shyamalan utilizes his patented silence, that disquieting sense of unease, as well as nifty camerawork and the seriously gifted abilities of James McAvoy and Samuel L. Jackson, both of whom deliver and live up to past bonafides. Sarah Paulson is always a welcome presence, and Willis is given little to do compared to Unbreakable, but he makes for a solid conduit for stoic heroics. Outside of a twisty narrative somewhat typical of thrillers anyway, the former Hollywood pariah manages to shock and awe without resorting to major rug-pull gimmicks. Yes, there are twists, but no Village-style silliness, and I’m a Village defender. If you’re a fan of the first two, go in with an open mind and you’ll find Glass more than up to the task of rounding out this franchise twenty years in the making.

Grade: B+

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