I can't say I didn't enjoy some moments of M Night Shyamalan's "Glass," the writer-director's follow-up to the surprisingly revealed trilogy which began with 2000's "Unbreakable," then was reshuffled for triple-ordered purposes with 2017's "Split" and now "Glass."
Shyamalan is a talented director, no doubt about it, but sometimes his overzealous pretensions just take over, case in point the horrific quadruple bomb of "Lady in the Water," "The Happening," "After Earth" and "The Last Airbender." There's a really beautiful selection of framing and colors in "Glass" that, quite frankly, reminded me of how talented he can be. Shyamalan is very much a Spielberg protege, but if his visual talents set a clear and deliberately conceived visual schema for our eyes, he is still lacking the care and thought that it takes to write a decent screenplay. Yes, Shyamalan, for all the twists and turns he's brought us, is still a terrible writer, we may have forgiven him for "Unbreakable" and "The Sixth Sense" because those stories well-told and paced with just the right flow to keepthe viewer engaged, but, by gosh, some of the lines this guy can write veer towards total cringe.
Bruce Willis, James McAvoy and Samuel L. Jackson are all on their A-game here — it’s great to see these veteran actors chewing up the scenery, especially Willis who hasn’t seemed this engaged in a movie since God knows how long (I actually decided to check his filmography and his last decent investment into actual, fully-fleshed acting was probably in 2012’s “Looper.")
The characters in "Glass" are exactly what you'd expect them to be if you've seen the first two films of this trilogy, the chemistry is definitely there, there is a sense of purpose for all of them, but Shyamalan decides to also add in an unnecessarily large amount of side characters, it makes the film lose its focus, feel less intimate than it should be. There's a reason why "The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable" and "Split" worked, there was so much room to manoeuvre within the mise-en-scene, the characters had space to breathe, which serviced Shyamalan's competent-enough screewnwriting. The three main characters in "Glass" should have been more than enough for Shyamalan to expand from previous films, but he decides to be overtly ambitious in that regard.
Shyamalan's lack of subtlety is quite apparent, especially since he stuffs his film with not one, not two, but three major plot twists. It almost felt like he chose these surprising revelations just because, you know, he can, his reputation as a twist-maker far exceeds anything else in terms of what defines him as an "auteur," but this film feels like a caricature of his old, more subtle self than the real deal.