Glass follows in the footsteps of Unbreakable and Split as the finale in the trilogy that explores what it would be like if superheroes and supervillains existed in a limited, subtle capacity. Glass picks up where Split leaves off, as the three characters Dunn, Mr. Glass and the Horde face off in a battle of wits as they are placed in a psych ward specifically designed to handle their unusual psychosis.
The Last Airbender and After Earth proved that the more extravagant the action, the less equipped director M Night Shyamalan is to handle it. Climactic action sequences aren't his element, and we see that in how the finale of Glass plays out. The two best words I can use to describe it are awkward and underwhelming. A combination of weird cinematography choices (like a steady, long camera shot of James McAvoy's Horde roaring at Bruce Willis' Dunn) and a misplaced score make you wonder all the time if you're even watching the climax. In part, that was the intention, as the plot implies, but with the twist being a climax cut shot, you feel disappointment.
No, I wasn't expecting Avengers-level pyrotechnics or an over-the-top clash that brings down all of downtown Philadelphia, but I was definitely hoping for more than what we got. It appeared Shyamalan used no cinematic nuance to film his fight scenes and most certainly they look devoid of any semblance of choreography. And again, seemingly random and unbalanced fight scenes can be great...but Glass was more like the fight you saw in middle school between two suddenly timid teens that realized they have no idea what they're doing. It was essentially a three-film build up to what equates to nothing. Think: Matrix Revolutions. We all were expecting Neo to win, but...what we got left a pit in our stomach...at least on the first viewing.
As underwhelming as all of that was, the signature Shyamalan twist was interesting, but miscalculated and poorly executed. The epilogue attempts to redeem a climax that fell short, but it ultimately fails to do so.
All three characters are fleshed out well, even keeping key supporting roles, like Anya Taylor-Joy, as important and relevant (that was great that Shyamalan was able to get the actor, Spencer Clark, who played Willis' son in Unbreakable!). Samuel L Jackson (Mr. Glass) is able to take his character further, Willis picks up where he left off with his solemn Dunn, and the show-stealing performance of McAvoy as Horde is fantastic again. But the ending, again, makes them all feel like pawns that annihilates the charisma they had developed with the audience.
The slow pace feels like Unbreakable and The Village, as you gradually latch onto the situation. When you truly think about it, looking back, it mostly feels pointless. We're all just tapping our feet, waiting for Mr. Glass to make a move. We get it, Dr. Staple (Sarah Paulson) thinks it's a mental condition and is trying to cure it. We know where this is going and little of value is scraped from these sequences. We can't wait to move on.
An ending that produces the feeling of being short-changed, while likely achieving the goal it set out to do, is inevitably disappointing. I loved the universe Shyamalan was building, as it was taking a fun direction on the superhero concept and introducing it in an even more real sense than The Dark Knight trilogy. But inevitably, I think he took this reality too far. I would have preferred a confined, claustrophobic final act than the one we got. It took the tease too far and I feel left wanting.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 6/10
Horror Quality: 4/10
Film Quality: 6/10