19 years ago M. Night Shyamalan set out to create a superhero universe that was grounded in reality. He finally finished the series and the critics were not impressed. Typical.
I worried that people would reject the film for not giving them these big cgi moments and critics would moan about the goofiness of the third story after the heaviness of the first two. I was thankfully wrong about the former. Most regular viewers liked the film and it has a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes currently. However, the critics did indeed disapprove. Some thought it was self-important, others said they expected more character development, some thought it relied too heavily on comic book tropes. Regardless of the reason, only 36% of certified critics liked the movie.
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I believe that the goal of the writer is important to consider when judging the film.
I personally enjoyed the movie and appreciated what M. Night Shyamalan did. His goal was to create a superhero universe that was grounded in reality and he did that. In the prior movies he established how these people could exist without people realizing what they were. This movie was about how bringing them together would look. The first twist, though somewhat predictable, really took it to the next level. The final one made it a fulfilling journey.
Bruce Willis still doesn’t know how strong he is?
If I had to pick an issue or two with the film, at the top of the list would be the time spent on Bruce Willis’ character not being sure how strong he is still after all these years. We know he’s been actively fighting crime during this period so why did he have to be reminded he could punch down the door?
Light, which has to be seen to be effective, is stopping The Hoard from running in a straight line?
After watching Bird Box I have a strong belief in a person’s ability to move forward in a straight line without needing their vision to do so. The whole time I watched McAvoy lunge and get stopped in his tracks by a flash, I felt like he could have literally just closed or covered his eyes. This felt much like the: “why would aliens go to a planet that is mostly water if they are defeated by it?” question in Signs. With that said, I loved Signs despite this flaw and I wasn’t going to let something like that hold me back from enjoying this film either.
Mr. Glass telling us how a comic book works
M. Night and his exposition. He really can’t just let the story tell itself. He has to have the characters explain everything. Ironically, it somewhat helps this movie. While I was mildly annoyed by it, if he hadn’t done it then all of the reviews would have talked about how cliché it was. Instead, with Mr. Glass basically narrating, the tropes became the entire point. Mr. Glass was a comic book nerd and he wanted to bring his favorite stories from the pages into the world. After my initial annoyance, I got it.
He accomplished his goal
I mentioned this above but I really feel like M. Night accomplished what he set out to do. He created realistic characters. A maniacal genius manipulating people into thinking he was harmless, getting his pet project hero to take on the crony he molded. A reluctant hero who only realized that he was gifted because he was told it was a possibility, and a psychotic villain that was weak enough to be manipulated into falling in line with his plan.
From there, he was able to prove his theory that superheroes were based on real historical figures that had been hidden from us. By introducing the Clover Society (no idea if they actually had a name) he was able to show that there are indeed a plethora of enhanced humans and we only don’t know about them because of a secret society who ensures that this remains the case.
THEN he gave us the satisfaction of knowing that the world will now know about enhanced humans. While the footage may not have been enough to convince EVERYONE, it was enough to get people thinking while staying within the realm of reason. If there are other people out there who think they might have abilities, now they will have reason to believe it’s possible. Meanwhile, the secret society takes a huge hit.
He made the time jump work!
With the large gap between the first and third films I was worried about how well M would be able to reintegrate the characters from Unbreakable. It actually worked out very nicely. They got the same actors to come back to reprise their side roles, which was great, and the time jump helped the story along. Mr. Glass has spent years in detention while David Dunn has been a vigilante now for over a decade. Rather than feeling rushed like it could have had the timeline been shorter, you felt like Dunn got to live a full superhero life cycle.
Overall, I enjoyed Glass. I enjoyed all three films and maybe enjoyed this one the least of the three but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I have a project I’ve been working on and it feels good to see what M. Night was able to do in creating this universe. It clearly meant something to him since he went back to complete it after so many years and I hope he feels good about having completed the trilogy. Despite the critics.