Just under 20 years ago, I went to the cinema to watch Unbreakable (2000) – the then, new super hero thriller from The Sixth Sense (1999) director M. Night Shyamalan. Unbreakable was a curious tale, seemingly destined to be a one-off piece within Shyamalan’s expanding film portfolio, but it featured super heroes during a period where comic book movies were few and far between, and I loved it!

Little did I know back in 2000, that a.) comic book movies would dominate cinema for the next two decades and b.) I’d get to revisit the world of Unbreakable two more times. The first return was in 2016 with the horror/thriller, Split; and of course more recently it has been with Glass.

So, how does Glass shape up?

I’m pleased to say that Glass is good.

It’s not perfect; but it is good – and if you’re a fan of the previous entries in the Eastrail 177 Trilogy you’re bound to get a lot out of this chapter.

The reason Glass isn’t perfect is because it relies heavily on the audience’s knowledge of both Unbreakable and/or Split. Put simply: If you have not watched either or both of these movies, then Glass will leave you confused and at times a little bored.

The film is largely set within a psychiatric hospital, keeping the action restricted; is filled with excessive scenes of talking (a lot of talking in fact); and makes various references to those two other movies, with comments that will fly over the heads of any newbies. It’s also a touch too long and could have easily been edited down by a good 20 minutes.

But, what Glass lacks in speed and action it more than makes up for in world building. Glass takes characters, story beats and footage from both of its predecessors and uses them to craft a tale which quite cleverly creates a cinematic universe.

Yep, it’s not just Marvel Studios who can create a universe, so too can M. Night Shyamalan and here he does it in such a way that Glass is both an end point and a spring board for so much more. This is a film which wants to tell the bigger picture and it does it without rushing or throwing countless new characters at the screen.

The beauty of the movie is the way in which it relies heavily on a cast that has been cherry picked from Unbreakable and Split. This core cast are not only very good, but they also have history with the series which adds a real depth to proceedings.

Of course, I have to mention one new addition to this universe and that is actress Sarah Paulson who gets the opportunity to add a new wrinkle to the story. I won’t go into details about Paulson’s full involvement, but what I will say is that she is a key figure in this universe.

Image: © Universal Pictures/Walt Disney Studios

For me, Glass works because it cares about what has come before and wants audiences to care too. This isn’t a bombastic finale, it’s a character driven piece which gives everyone a chance to shine and still has something to say.

Do I think Glass is as good as Unbreakable? No; however it adds something new to the comic book/super hero genre and at this point down the line, when we’re in super hero overload, that’s really not a bad thing.

Not for everyone, but for those who loved chapters one and two, there’s much to like in this (potentially) final tale.

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