Glass (2019): ‘Grounded Super Heroes’ – A Film Review



M. Night Shyamalan made a name for himself with his breakthrough film The Sixth Sense. Many consider him to have peaked early and the many films to follow seemed to include his attempts at repeating a similar magic. In particular there was always some ‘big twist’. However, his film Unbreakable met with reasonable success and many years later, he’d follow up this comic book inspired fable with Split and signaling a trilogy. Glass is the end of this trilogy and sees cast members Bruce Willis (Overseer), Samuel L. Jackson (Mr Glass) and James McAvoy (The Horde) return from these previous films. These comic book or super heroes having a slightly different and more real touch than most and particular in the range of James McAvoy’s acting, some psychological variety. It’d be the film to completely tie the worlds of Unbreakable and Split together.


The Acting

Glass, and likely Split before it, gave a lot of possibility to star James McAvoy. He is able to properly explore his acting ability, through his dynamic range, through The Horde’s many personalities. This is quite entertaining to watch and through a brilliant actor like James McAvoy, its very well achieved. Subtleties in performance and make up/costume, helping to bring out a realistic difference in the characters. Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson are also heavyweight stars and their presence in this film is able to anchor the eccentric dynamism of James McAvoy. The characters are played with a sense of realism that gives credibility to the plot. Each character being tested by the world with which they find themselves and particularly by the intelligent probings of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Poulson). It is here that we start to see an intelligent theme being worked into the superhero genre, what are their roots in reality?


How is it Shot?

Stylistically, the film is paced incredibly well and there is a sense that anything shown is well rooted. Make up and special effects is never particularly over done. A slight draw back comes with a great title sequence that shows the camera’s glass breaking, which looks amazing but does distract from the scene it is over the top of – it’d have more of an impact over establishing shots or a montage of the films atmosphere. Slick enough the film focuses mainly on the acting talent, whilst stunts the characters perform are extraordinary but not too fantastical. It is a joy to see James McAvoy climb and pounce through the space. This film builds both its narrative and world really well and the inevitable build up to a twist is forever looming. Fortunately the main problem with the film’s end is how it necessarily plays out. The action here isn’t as climactic as it could have been but Glass was never wanting it to be either – a sort of catch 22.



Surprisingly, Glass, is well written and directed. It manages to achieve a lot, which is unusual for film trilogies picked up 19 years after their first installment – with Split. Glass manages a lot under its plate and it does it with a calm confident and intelligent outlook. Something that had only felt forced with a lot of M. Night Shyamalan’s previous work. It is refreshing and may put the director back into respectable directors circles. Also wonderfully handled is the way the film closes the trilogy. There is no real requirement to have seen Unbreakable or Split, the events in those films are referred to like back stories and it’s enough. It makes sense. Surely it will add to your knowledge of these characters but it’s never in a way that Glass is reliant on them. You can pick it up and enjoy from the beginning of this end.



After the events of Split and many years after Unbreakable, David Dunn is attempting to find Kevin Crumb when they’re taken in by a mental institution. Do they in fact have these abilities or are they mentally unwell?




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Glass (d. M. Night Shyamalan USA 2019)

Split (d.  M. Night Shyamalan USA/Japan 2016)

The Sixth Sense (d. M. Night Shyamalan USA 1999)

Unbreakable (d. M. Night Shyamalan USA 2000)


Further Reading

Official Site

Interview with M. Night Shyamalan

Interview with Samuel L. Jackson

Interview with James McAvoy

Behind the Scenes

Easter Eggs

Alternate Ending and Deleted Scenes


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Aquaman (2018): ‘DC’s Black PanThor’ – A Film Review

BlacKkKlansman (2018): ‘Racism Today’ – A Film Review


This was an analytical review of….

Glass (d. M. Night Shyamalan USA 2019)

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