James McAvoy Patricia/Dennis/Hedwig/The Beast/Barry/Heinrich/Jade/Ian/Mary Reynolds/Norma/Jalin/Kat/B.T./Kevin Wendell Crumb/Mr. Pritchard/Felida/Luke/Goddard/Samuel/Polly/The Horde
Bruce Willis David Dunn
Samuel L. Jackson Elijah Price/Mr. Glass
Anya Taylor-Joy Casey Cooke
Sarah Paulson Dr. Ellie Staple
Spencer Treat Clark Joseph Dunn
Charlayne Woodard Mrs. Price
Friday was upon us and it was time for another film from my stack of un-watched blu-rays. For this
week, I was looking forward to the last film in the M. Night Shyamalan trilogy, Glass. Not long ago, I
posted a review on the movie Split:
the 2nd film of the trilogy. While, it has been said, that Glass is actually a sequel too Unbreakable (2000),
to me it is actually just a series of films to be enjoyed together. Like Split, my wife and I thoroughly
enjoyed the film, especially the action provided by the main characters. If you haven’t guessed by now,
Glass is the culmination and ultimate finale for M. Night Shyamalan’s principle heroes and anti-heroes if
you will. This film stars Bruce Willis (as David Dunn) reprising his role from Unbreakable. Joining Willis
from Unbreakable, there is Samuel L. Jackson (as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass) and from Split, we have James
McAvoy, expertly portraying a multitude of characters collectively referred to as “The Horde”. They are supported by several characters from the previous films, i.e. Casey (Taylor-Joy), Joseph (Clark) and Mrs. Price (Woodard), and a new character in Dr. Ellie Staple (Paulson).
What is this finale about, you ask? Well, in this latest M. Night Shyamalan’s feature, we rediscover David Dunn (Willis), running a small security company with his son Joseph (Clark). David (Willis) is continuing his vigilante exploits looking for ne’er do wells and saving them from their ultimate demise. Meanwhile we find Elijah Price (Jackson) locked in a mental institution, looking pretty much catatonic. Like all roles that Jackson undertakes, he even manages to make a catatonic individual seem intense and scary. For the last of three main characters, “The Horde” (McAvoy) has imprisoned 4 cheerleaders in an old factory/warehouse.
As the kidnapping of the cheerleaders is all over the news, Dunn (Willis) decides to go on a patrol with the assistance of his son Joseph (Clark). After Dunn (Willis) and Hedwig (McAvoy) briefly touch each other while walking, Dunn (Willis) and son deduce where the cheerleaders may be hidden, and Dunn (Willis) subsequently goes to investigate. Naturally this leads to a confrontation between Dunn (Willis) and The Beast et al (McAvoy). The girls escape, and both Dunn (Willis) and “The Horde” (McAvoy) are captured and put into the same mental institution as Price (Jackson). Enter the new psychiatrist, Dr. Ellie Staple (Paulson). Staple has a few days to prove her theory that none of the 3 main characters are super strong, nor super smart, and that they are only suffering from a mental condition that makes them believe that they have the powers that they do. With this tight timetable in place, she (Paulson) goes to extreme measures to prove her theory, which ultimately will be her own professional demise. I am trying not to give out too many spoilers here, for I feel if you have watched the other two films (Unbreakable and Split), you have to watch this one to complete the trilogy and provide a conclusion to the tale. So, to summarize quickly, what we will see over the next hour is each of the three principle characters’ come together for a final confrontation where the truth of their origin is revealed, and how their existence is all tied together. Each of the supporting characters provide not only vital information on their respective heroes or anti-heroes, but also play a key role at the end of the film. These supporting characters all come from the previous two films. They are; Joseph (Clark), David’s son who acts kind of like a Robin to Dunn’s Batman character. Mrs Price (Woodard), Elijah’s mother who really believes that her boy is still good, and finally Casey (Taylor-Joy), the young lady who escaped “The Beast” in Split, but still has feelings for the other personalities. The hub, or central character is Dr. Ellis Staple (Paulson) who actually brings everyone together for the action filled final act.
Before going into what was good or bad in this film, lets look at the main characters.
Bruce Willis as David Dunn: Bruce does not really act much here. He plays the same, stoic hero; Iron jawed, stone faced and emotionless. This is Willis’s wheelhouse for many films of late. He has foregone the sarcastic hero of yester-year and has adapted this brooding character. Dunn, the “Unbreakable” human who has boundless strength and can feel what someone has done if they just manage to touch him is kind of one dimensional. He is either brooding, desperate or angry. Nothing else. His spectrum of emotions does not vary. However, having said all that, my wife and I still like the character and Willis in it. He is a known commodity, and when sticking to these lanes, we pretty much know what we are going to get from him. So no real surprises. What we did like with this character is the fact that he drew on the previous film from almost 20 years ago and that the time line seemed continuous. Between this movie and the first one, we deduce that he still continues to be the vigilante, righting what is wrong and saving the day. Even though he is much older, the character and storyline fits, so there is no real WTF moments in it.
Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass: Jackson always delivers, as a matter of fact that should be his
tagline on all his films. Elijah Price/Mr. Glass continues in his belief that life is just a series of comic book
stories. His devotion to the genre is unmistakable. What I liked about Jackson’s performance in this film,
is that even though he is comatose for the first half of the film, his facial expression can still be sinister.
Wheel chair bound and limited in what he can do, he still controls many of the outcomes of the film
and manages to outwit his captors repetitively and rather easily I might add. His is the character that
brings both Dunn and “The Horde” together and without him, the film would be for naught.
Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke: Taylor-Joy returns as Casey, and continues to perform admirably. As the
troubled youth from Split, Casey (Taylor-Joy) continues to impart empathy to the many personalities
that make up McAvoy’s character. Taylor-Joy and McAvoy share a great chemistry that has only grown
since their previous joint venture. While in more of a supporting role in this feature, her character is still
integral to the development of “The Horde” and all the personalities contained within it. Sharing a trust
with several of them i.e. Hedwig, Patricia, Barry and most importantly the host, Kevin Wendell Crumb,
Casey (Taylor-Joy) provides assistance and a calming effect when required. Additionally, she displays
a good rapport with Joseph and Mrs. Price as they try to assist and really save their respective loved
ones. As this is now the 2ndfilm I have seen with Taylor-Joy, I am looking forward to see what she can do
in another role besides that of Casey.
Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn: I had to verify with IMDB to see if this was actually the same actor that played Dunn’s son in Unbreakable. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was the same person. Especially in so many films where a character can be recast, especially as they grow up. Does anyone remember all the various actors who played the kids in National Lampoon Vacation movies? Each one had a different kid! However, I have digressed. I thought that I had not seen him in many films/shows previously, but when looking at his resume, I see that he has actually been pretty active in the past, primarily as a guest star in minor roles, i.e. Mad Men, Law and Order and NCIS to name but a few. His raison d’etre in this film was to be Dunn’s “Robin” and sidekick. He managed to fulfill this role, however, his performance (for me) did not really leave a lasting impact. He was crucial to the story as far as Dunn (Willis) was concerned, and he did play a part in the final scene to demonstrate how he, Casey (Taylor-Joy) and Mrs. Price (Woodard) managed to close the film and the trilogy.
Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price: As the mother to Elijah (Jackson), Woodard’s role was not really a key
player in the greater scheme of things. Her part was to play that of the mother, who was sure that her
son was not all that bad, no matter what he did or said. To that effect, she was fine. She displayed
good chemistry with Jackson and the others and did nothing to detract from the story writ large. An
accomplished actress in her own right, she has a prolific resume that have included many shows and
movies that I have watched over the years. Looking at IMDB I did find out something, she is actually
younger than the son that she portrays (Jackson)…just goes to show you what a good make-up crew and
Special effects team can do!
Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple: Of late, we have watched more and more programs/films with Paulson
as a member of the cast. She is a talented actress who can play the villain or the injured with equal ease.
As Dr. Staple, it is hard to see which one she is, as her character actually morphs throughout the film and
the audience must keep on top of it to see the changes. In the start, we see her as an eager psychiatrist who is trying to prove her theory that superheroes are a state of the mind and not real. Later we see a more nefarious character, I don’t want to get too deep into this as it gives out a major spoiler. However, it is enough to say that her portrayal is believable and played with skill. She has great chemistry with the other principal stars and when in a scene, she is really only outshone by McAvoy, and holds her own solidly with the other two major stars, Jackson and Willis.
James McAvoy as “The Horde”: I am using the term Horde, as it was used in the film to represent the full range of personalities that were contained within. So saving the best for last, as with the film Split, McAvoy is the true star of the film. It really took these two films for me to see his full range and talent. He adroitly changed personalities/characters and portrayed them with such talent and emotion that it was a sight to behold. He truly is the film, with every personality change, his voice, mannerisms, physical attributes adapted in the blink of an eye. As with the previous film, our favourite personality was Hedwig, the way McAvoy can portray a confused young boy is amazing. This character has influenced us to the point that when we hear the words Etcetera or show in a news report, we both look at each other and laugh as we kind of hear the word in Hedwig’s voice. A true testament to his skill! In each and every scene that he is in, he is the star of the screen. The other main characters, who are all great actors/actresses in their own right, have to take a backseat to McAvoy’s talent. Even if you only watch this film to see McAvoy as the horde, you will not be disappointed.
What else did we like about the film? Well, lets see. As this film is part of a series, there really was no character that had to be further developed (besides Dr. Staple), and their roles were just a continuation or amplification from the original. Shyamalan’s script and direction were on par with some of his better films (i.e. Sixth Sense, Split, Unbreakable), however, I must say that some of his camera angles and techniques left us scratching our heads as it is not what we are used too. But, just because we are not fans of that particular style, does not mean that others will dislike it. This is just a matter of personal taste. The plot was well paced, and kept you wanting more, especially any scene that had the key actors in it.
What didn’t we like? The last few scenes actually lost us a bit. Was it setting up a further movie, did it wrap up every loose thread. Yes, and no; in our opinion, it could have ended with Elijah Price/Mr. Glass’s line, “it’s an origin story”. But I guess you had to kind of explain the Dr. Staples further as well as her origin as well. Also, the final scene in the train station, was a bit hokey, but like Dr. Staples, there had to be some way to wrap up the supporting cast as well. As I mentioned before, I don’t want to give out any spoilers, as I recommend you watch it if you have not. Especially if you are a fan of McAvoy, Willis and Jackson!
Our rating: 7.5/10 (McAvoy actually rates a 9.5!)
If you are interested in other films by the main actors, please consider the following recommendations.
James McAvoy Split, Atomic Blonde, X-Men: First Class, Wanted, Last King of Scotland
Bruce Willis Die Hard (1&2), RED (1&2), Surrogates, Looper, Tears of the Sun
Samuel L. Jackson Avengers (Marvel Franchise), 1408, Jumper, Home of the Brave, Coach Carter
Anya Taylor-Joy Split, Peaky Blinders
Sarah Paulson American Horror Story, American Crime Story, 12 Years a Slave, Deadwood
Till next time!