The movie-going audience has a bipolar relationship with Shyamalan. Once proclaimed “the next Spielberg”, he then went through a string of big budget failures, before making a resurgence in the past few years. Through all his highs-and-lows, Shyamalan has always made ambitious films, and Glass is no different. Here in his finale to his superhuman trilogy he does for superhero movies what Scream did for horror, lovingly recognizing its genre tendencies as benchmarks instead of clichés. It’s not quite as clever or urgent as it could be, but Glass, like a good comic book, still manages to strike an appropriate balance between admitted absurdity and unashamed sincerity. Following cult hits Unbreakable and Split, Glass finds Jackson’s titular mastermind once again (what else?) masterminding another bit of real-life comic book lore, pitting Willis’s hero against McAvoy’s villain. It’s a great tonal combination of the two previous films, though leaning heavier on the psychological superhero drama of Unbreakable. All about trauma, identity control and cultural elitism, it has as much intriguing philosophizing as it does action. By the end, it borders on being a Shyamalan mess, but its ambitions are too noble to write-off. What really makes Glass fly are the performances, especially from the central figures. Willis is fine, but McAvoy and Jackson are remarkable. Jackson is laying on just the right amount of ham to show that he’s having fun, while underlaying it with plenty of care, and McAvoy is like a magician, pulling off each internal character nearly simultaneously with equal parts comedy, pathos and horror. Some questionable story logic must be set aside, but I think it’s worth it for a superhero movie this abnormally bold.
4 out of 5 stars