If not (gasp!), please go watch them now – in that order – and come back. I’ll wait.
Just kidding; I’m gonna keep writing, but please proceed with caution… and an understanding that while I won’t give away anything, you’ll likely be confused AF. Also note that whatever is seen in the trailers is fair game.
Here we go…
It was in 2000’s “Unbreakable” (easily my favorite M. Night flick) that Shyamalan first introduced us to David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a soft-spoken and keeps-to-himself security guard trying to salvage his marriage and connect with his son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), after walking away from a horrific train crash in which every other person onboard perished.
We also met Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), whose difficult and pain-filled childhood led to a fascination with comic books that in adulthood became somewhat of an obsession.
And David unknowingly was exactly the one for whom Elijah had been searching.
Sixteen years later, Shyamalan freaked the “Split” out of audiences with his tale of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy, like you’ve never before seen him) – and his slew of alternate personalities, resulting from Kevin’s dissociative identity disorder.
Shyamalan actually wrote “Split” based on a character that was initially intended to appear in but later scrapped from “Unbreakable,” which makes sense looking back.
So while these storylines always seemed destined to intersect, they finally do exactly that in “Glass”
And this time, Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) attempts to debunk the theory believed by each of these characters to be the basis for his – or in Kevin’s case, his and his and hers and his, “etcetera” (wink) – existence.
“If superheroes exist,” Dr. Staple asks, “why are there only three of you?”
But again, all of this is from the complex mind of one of the most inventive and creative cinematic storytellers, so the digestive process takes some thought and dissection because Shyamalan’s movies are notorious for possessing deeper meanings that extend well beyond what’s on the surface.
The use of color is again important, and it’s everywhere: the costuming; the backgrounds; the obvious indications, such as the neon signs glowing above Joseph’s head in the back of the comic book store or the stripes painted on the floor of Kevin’s room.
The greens and purples and yellows and even the reds all have meaning, and Shyamalan chose each color specifically based on the qualities possessed by the character or situation being represented.
Pay attention to the chromatic expression and what’s happening in this narrative when the saturation becomes more or less intense.
And, of course, there are those subtle clues that are inescapable from this wily filmmaker, who again makes a small cameo.
That twitch in Elijah’s eyes that seems to be his only movement in the presence of hospital personnel didn’t make much sense to me at the time, but….
And to David’s dismay there’s early mention of the “Tip-Toe Man.” An understated comment of that slinking action by another character later on will have your mind scrambling to make a connection, if you catch it at all.
A lot of the visuals again bring about a deliberate comic book feel; there’s a stylized look to “Glass” that’s both unique and so very Shyamalan.
He capitalizes on those slow, revealing zooms that all but beg for your attention. The stop-flash sequences that are used when David passes through a crowd put us directly under his rain poncho and allow us to get a first-hand feel of how he does what he does.
The use of shadows feels surreal; the reaction shots we see instead of the action create tension and insane curiosity; the around-the-corner and over-the-shoulder techniques drop us smack into those scenes and conversations and effectively pull us closer into this narrative.
And those tilted angles from Elijah’s point of view hearken back to a quote from “Unbreakable” involving a “skewed perception” of how the world is seen.
Oh. My. God.
“Glass” combines the visual brilliance of “Unbreakable” with the disturbing nature of “Split” to create one walloping, gut-punch finish to this masterful trilogy.
My husband had some issues with the storyline, so he’d like to have some words with Mr. Shyamalan.
On the other hand, I’m looking forward to seeing “Glass” again (and again?) to pick out other nuances I missed during the first go-round.
I was excited to see all of these characters onscreen together, further exploring ideas from the previous films and wrapping up this saga the only way that it could.