This film somewhat reminded what kind of author Shayamalan was, and it will turn out that Split is the second project in a row in the Glass trilogy, which also includes the film Unbreakable from 2000. The third film, named after the trilogy itself, has recently arrived, which completes the story and fate of our anti-heroes.
The plot of the film begins with David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who is actively searching for the superhuman personality of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), who kidnapped four girls. Their conflict will lead to the arrest of both of them, who end up in a psychiatric hospital under the supervision of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). It will turn out that Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), with whom David clashed in the first film, is also there. Dr. Staple tries to prove that the trio doesn’t actually have superhuman abilities, but we soon realize that Elijah has his own plans…
In the period when he was shooting the first film, Shyamalan brought his producers a lot of money, because he was a capable director, but also a screenwriter with great ideas, which he easily developed and implemented into a quality story with a plot twist. Today, Shyamalan is no longer so appreciated, not because he forgot to direct, but because his ideas are thin, and therefore their development and the whole story.
After Unbreakable, which dealt with superheroes before the films with them experienced a mega-expansion (and which has no clichés characteristic of the genre), came Split, which probably no one would have noticed if James McAvoy was not such a good actor. Glass is the author’s attempt to create and conclude a retroactive trilogy, which is not a total failure, as it met my low expectations both as a separate film and as part of a trilogy – nothing more.
The introduction to the story is excellent, as we follow David’s fight against crime nineteen years after learning that he has supernatural powers. A serial killer is active in Philadelphia, and everyone who watched Split knows that it is the Beast, one of Kevin’s identities, who suffers from a personality disorder. David and Kevin’s conflict is interrupted by the police, they arrive at a psychiatric institution, there we meet him and from then on the story goes downhill.
I won’t go into the meaningfulness of the idea that the three of them are delusional and that their superpowers can be explained by simple facts, because that segment was reduced to conversations between the characters, thus killing any potential tension. Kevin and his multiple personalities get a lot of space, Elijah is a kind of gray eminence, while David is waiting to do something. Knowing Shyamalan’s style, we are left to wait for the inevitable and the big twist of everything that led to the finale.
That ending gives us several twists, each of them relatively interesting, and all of them together make the overall story, as well as the characters themselves, practically irrelevant in the film. The glass is made in Zicer style and there is nothing that represents a particularly bright spot. Somehow, even James McAvoy’s superb performance has sunk into general grayness, because he no longer has the surprise factor he had in the movie Split, and the best segments of his acting are either during meaningless dialogues or in moments of melodrama towards the end.