Kurt Loder Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Glass

M. Night Shyamalan ends his makeshift superhero trilogy with a dull thud.

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Walt Disney Pictures

Unusually for an M. Night Shyamalan project, the real plot twist in Glass comes not at the end of the movie but about halfway through, when you realize it won't be getting any better and is in fact getting worse by the minute.

The possibility of a sequel to Shyamalan's Unbreakable has been tantalizing fans for nearly 20 years. Unfortunately, the director always felt he had better things to do. (If only he had done them, instead of making the wretched Lady in the Water and After Earth.) Then, two years ago, at the conclusion of Split, the psycho-thriller that brought him back to the box-office bigtime, Shayamalan tacked on a tiny scene that featured Unbreakable protagonist David Dunn (Bruce Willis) making ominous mention of that earlier movie's villain, Mr. Glass, who had been played by Samuel L. Jackson.

And so here we are, back in Shyamalan's beloved Philadelphia, where Split's multiple maniac Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) is still on the loose and has just abducted a gaggle of teenage cheerleaders, whom he's got shackled up in a warehouse. But Dunn is on to him. Nowadays the glum super-guy runs a security-gear store with his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark, who played the same role on a smaller scale in Unbreakable). On the side, though, David is still in the business of dispensing vigilante justice to creeps in need. He is in the process of doing this to the wacko Crumb and his 23 other personalities when the cops arrive and haul all of them off to the Raven Hill mental hospital—longtime home-away-from-home of the fragile-boned evil mastermind Elijah Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass.

Sound like a promising setup? Lock that thought away somewhere and dispose of the key. No sooner are we getting sort of interested in the story than an annoying psychiatrist named Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) shows up to deliver incredibly boring lectures to the three celebrity inmates. Staple argues at interminable length that comic books aren't real life (nobody argues back) and says that Dunn, Glass and Crumb must stop believing that they are superbeings and instead accept the fact that they are simply delusional. She also informs the boys that she has only three days to accomplish her mission (which sounds a little suspicious, frankly).

One problem with this scenario is that the hospital keeps Glass heavily medicated (to befog his awesome cognitive abilities) and so Jackson spends the first half of the movie slumped wordlessly in a wheelchair. Another is that Willis is given little to do and seems barely engaged with the movie in any case. That leaves the nutjob field to McAvoy's Kevin (or Patricia, or Hedwig, or Dennis, or whichever of his resident loons is in charge at the moment—pray that it's not the bloodthirsty Beast). Now, there's no arguing that McAvoy's ability to manifest one after another of these alternate personalities—a middle-aged woman, a nine-year-old boy, a campy artist with a Boston drawl—isn't technically impressive. But it also grows really monotonous, especially after the scene in which several of these identities are triggered in very quick succession by flashing strobe lights.

Given his many problems, you wouldn't figure Kevin for a chick magnet. But then you don't know Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), whom The Beast almost killed in Split, after successfully murdering two of her friends. The reason Casey was allowed to survive at that time was that Kevin/Beast realized, at the last minute, that she, like him, had been abused as a child. Okay, it's complicated. But now Casey is back for a reunion with Kevin and company (or "The Horde," as his many identities are called). She even holds hands with her former assailant as Dr. Staple looks on. I believe this is a healthcare crisis we can all agree to deplore.

Before long—well actually it seems like a very long time, but eventually, Mr. Glass snaps back to life, once again resplendent in his shiny purple greatcoat, with a snazzy new "MG" pin wittily affixed to his cravat. Mastermind that he is, Glass has come up with an escape plan to get him out of the hospital, with a little help from The Beast. (Around in here we're also told quite a bit about a new skyscraper that's being inaugurated in Philadelphia, but that turns out to have nothing to do with anything, so pay it no mind.) Meanwhile, David Dunn has retrieved his own professional costume—the capacious green rain poncho associated with his aquaphobic alter ego, now known as The Overseer—and is ready to do super-battle with The Beast and the scheming Glass. This leads into one of the worst-staged fights in the history of major-studio conflict—a sequence in which three guys basically stand around in a parking lot and there's also a water tank.

There is of course a traditional Shyamalanian twist at the end of this movie, and it's a good one. In fact, it's the best thing in the picture, pointing the way toward a very cool mutation of the story. It's a movie just waiting to be made, in other words—although maybe not by M. Night Shyamalan.

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  1. When Unbreakable was made, superhero films were more or less a spent force for adult movie audiences. The big reveal in that film was that you were watching a superhero movie without even realizing it until the end, and it made superhero movies accessible to people who never would have gone to see those awful Dark Knight sequels or their awful cousins.

    20 years later, the idea of a well made superhero film isn’t exactly a novel idea.

    1. Twenty years later and I’m still waiting for one. Marvel movies are nothing more than a bag of quips and wisecracks. Wonder Woman was good, but we haven’t seen any decent super hero movies in a very long time. What we get instead of basically Transformer movies with long underwear instead of of transformers.

      1. Even Wonder Woman suffered from the fact that Gal Gadot isn’t much of an actress (although Brie Larson’s cigar-store Indian-like capabilities make her look like Katherine Hepburn by comparison). If she wasn’t such an inhumanly beautiful human being, the movie would have been even less compelling than it was.

  2. Who goes to the movie theaters anymore?

    Anyway… I have learned that whatever movie critics say, more often than not, the opposite is true.

    1. You should unlearn that because Loder is a god.

      1. The guy from mTV?

        Nobody from mTV is a God.

        I suspect Loder actually being a Libertarian but I dont know or care enough about him. Kurt Loder opposed GH Bush but didnt oppose Clinton. Evidently, Kurt Loder feels that mTV helped elect Bill Clinton.

        1. Mike.Judge.

          also you must have missed every episode of Remote Control.

        2. You would be correct if our Dark Lord of Critique were not the exception which proves the rule. Seriously, I am going to have to politely ask you to unfuck yourself on this one.

          KL would be the first to deny his deification, but the man has more rationality and good sense in one loafer than may be found in entire generations of movie critics.

          It. Is. Known.

          1. Respect.

    2. Anyway… I have learned that whatever movie critics say, more often than not, the opposite is true.

      I’m not a movie critic. Loder is right. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the movie it pretty one-dimensional.

      1. I haven’t seen the movie, so I cannot say either way.

        Critics tend to promote crap and be critical of decent movies.

        Look at the crap that get Oscars and other awards.

      2. Another interesting thing is that movies at redbox for $1.00 can have be less critical because they were not $15.00 at a movie theater.

        1. Another interesting thing is that movies at redbox for $1.00 can have be less critical because they were not $15.00 at a movie theater.

          Sure, but then the issue is more the critic overestimating the value of your money and time.

          “This movie was absolute stinking garbage, but you’re all moronic wastes of flesh who’s demise can’t come soon enough so go see it.”

      3. I get the impression that Shyamalan could direct an awesome movie, if only he were given a good script instead of writing his own. He’s got a good eye for scene and character, but sucks at story. Most of what makes his movies bad are the lame ass stories.

    3. The opposite of almost everything you believe is true.

      1. Poor Tony. He posts something that he knows is not true.

        His tears prove otherwise.

    4. Freddy Got Fingered **WAS** a great movie!!!

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  5. No superheroes
    No supermasters
    No supergods

  6. Is the plot twist that Samuel L Jackson doesn’t play a loud angry threatening black guy like in every single other Samuel L Jackson movie?

  7. There is of course a traditional Shyamalanian twist at the end of this movie, and it’s a good one. In fact, it’s the best thing in the picture…

    You could say the same thing about most of his non-shitty movies, including The Sixth Sense. Maybe I’m alone in this opinion, but I thought The Sixth Sense was a pretty boring movie where not much happened until the big reveal at the end (SPOILER ALERT: Bruce Willis was dead the whole time).

    I may also be the only person I know of who noticed that after he was shot at the start of the movie, the only person who spoke with or interacted with him in any way was the kid who sees dead people, and therefore figured out that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time well before the big reveal at the end.

    1. You are not alone on both counts.

    2. But the movie was edited nicely to hide that. There are a couple of scenes that can mislead you, but they do not actually have him interact with another character.

      1. It felt more carefully edited to the point that, IMO, it was a reveal more than a twist. Not like The Village where there was no real way you could see the end coming or, at least, if the clues were part of the writing both were shitty. Maybe my memory or intuition just isn’t as good as CA’s but the ending of The 6th Sense was more of an ‘Is he/or isn’t he?’

        1. Bullshit.
          I thought the Village was well done, except there’s a scene early in the movie that caused me to think “please don’t be the ending/twist. Please don’t be the ending/twist.”
          Then the end came and it was exactly what I’d hoped wasn’t so telegraphed an hour before that.
          Also, it was annoying. Give me real monsters.

          1. I figured out The Village, too (but not 6th Sense). Can’t remember why though. Did they show an airplane or something? Maybe it was the dichotomy of the accents/mannerisms of the townsfolk vs. the setting they were portrayed in. Or perhaps I just just analyzed the “monsters” until I realized they were merely a psychological barrier erected by the elders, and drew conclusions based on that. At any rate, there were clues.

            I blame my inability to nail down The Sixth Sense on the scene at the jewelry store where some glass breaks and a rapid camera pan leaves us with no possible explanation other than that Bruce’s character did it. I guess a huge bird ran into the window? Or maybe we were ‘hearing what he wanted to hear’?

    3. I did not notice it. I was surprised.

      Also the alien movie was good with Joaquin Phoenix.

    4. I was surprised everyone didn’t figure that out. So I didn’t enjoy it, its sole feature falling flat.

      The Village had a great twist, plus was a good movie. I & probably most viewers had part of the twist figured out, but not the better part of it.

  8. was Split good?

    1. I don’t know, but I saw a good 1-man show, Abducted, on the same premise. Either is a terrific showcase for 1 actor.

  9. What a spoiler! I thought it was about what happened at Wonder Warthog’s school for super-heroes, and that the Glass was Chinese marijuana cut with Dramamine.

  10. No sooner are we getting sort of interested in the story than an annoying psychiatrist named Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) shows up to deliver incredibly boring lectures to the three celebrity inmates.

    Further evidence that nothing ruins a good time like a prissy liberal woman full of unwarranted self-regard.

  11. As Harvey Kurtzman got referenced in Brazil, so was Robert Crumb in Glass?which is a great pic I just saw.

  12. I think I’ve hated every MKS movie made after The Sixth Sense as the movies got dumber and dumber because his writing is horrible. He is the classic case of a director who does not know how to end his movies, so it always seems it is some contrived “twist!” You also know all of his movies are so formulaic that they will have some kind of “dramatic reveal!” at the end so most of the time you’re watching the movie trying to figure out what it is and not paying attention to the story, which is usually awful anyway.

    The movies often lack continuity in themselves and sometimes leave gaping plot holes, such as in The Happening where the wind only kills large groups of people except where it doesn’t, or takes it’s time to catch up to people running through a field so the protagonists can make it to safety. Most of the time the story is just a hot mess.

    As a result, these days once I see a movie is made by MKS I skip right on by. Friends said Split was so good that I started to watch it and after about half hour in I was so annoyed by it I turned it off. I will probably never watch another of his movies again, regardless of what critics or friends say.

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