FILM REVIEW: ‘Glass’ fails to live up to strength of top cast

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Sean Coyle At Brunswick Moviebowl

2016’s ‘Split’ surprisingly became one of the sleeper hits of that year.

A solid thriller with a great central performance by James McAvoy playing a mentally disturbed man with several split personalities who has begun to abduct women.

The film’s success also acted as a bit of a career resurgence for director M. Night Shyamalan after a string of critical and commercial hits.

What really piqued audiences interest though, was that it acted as a stealth sequel to Shyamalan’s much lauded 2000 film ‘Unbreakable,’ where Bruce Willis’ everyman superhero, David Dunn, tries to stop Samuel L. Jackson’s criminal mastermind Mr. Glass.

Our latest instalment has all three characters thrown together for the first time, with them being locked up in the same psychiatric institution.

This is where Dr. Staple (Paulson) tries to convince the trio that their powers are not real before they inevitably go head-to-head.

After two strong predecessors, however, ‘Glass’ comes nowhere near hitting the same heights, being more reminiscent of some of Shyamalan’s clumsiest efforts, such as’ The Happening’ and ‘After Earth.’

One of the main problems is the plot itself, after building three interesting characters over two films fans were eager to see how they would face off.

Yet most of their time is spent talking about themselves in therapy sessions.

To be honest, it’s dull, repetitive and hardly the sort of stuff to get your blood pumping.

Even Dr. Staples plan of getting them to believe they don’t have powers borders on ludicrous.

She wants to convince them of this so the world doesn’t believe in superheroes, but if they are all locked up and no threat to the outside world then is this necessary at all?

Even the reveal that this order has been trying to cover up superheroes for thousands of years seems a bit desperate, crowbarred into the narrative even though there has been no mention of them in the previous two films.

The dialogue does little to help the films cause either, as Shyamalan finds it necessary to signpost every comic book trope that happens, usually through Jackson monologues.

That comes across as cringe worthy, almost like it has been penned by an over eager 12-years-old.

This sort of dialogue may have been informative, at least 20 years ago, but in the era of massive superhero films, even the most casual viewer is in the know about such plot devices, it doesn’t have to be spoon fed to them.

When the action does arrive it is forgettable and rather tame, and there is the usual Shyamalan twist that may leave many viewers underwhelmed.

Slow, unsure of itself, condescending and a bit pointless altogether, ‘Glass’ wastes a great cast and ruins the momentum built in the previous films to produce the first big misfire of 2019.

TWO STARS