‘Glass’ worth the wait

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“Glass” is a weird film, but it works well as a sequel to writer and director M. Night Shyamalan’s earlier hit films, “Unbreakable” and “Split”.

Superhero movies are all the rage these days, so it makes sense for Shyamalan to try and capture what magic he can with his own murky, psychological series. But this isn’t a big, flashy Avengers movie. It’s slow, methodical creeper of a movie with sudden sharp pangs of action.

If you’ve waited 19 years for this sequel, I think you’ll be pleased.

Once upon a time, all the way back in 2000, when Shyamalan was a hot new director, he had a hit film called “Unbreakable”. It starred Bruce Willis as a seemingly ordinary man who slowly discovers he has super powers, and that he should use them to help people.

Flash forward to now, and Shyamalan has brought the character back for a long-awaited sequel, and he’s brought along actor James McAvoy’s psychotic villain from the more recent hit movie, “Split”. In the new film “Glass”, a psychologist attempts to convince these characters that they don’t have super powers and are just ordinary people — but Samuel L. Jackson’s villain, Mr. Glass, has schemes of his own.

As a sequel to the popular “Unbreakable”, “Glass” definitely works as solid entertainment. There is a lot of fun to be had in combining the heroes and villains from “Unbreakable” and “Split”, and the film does a fine job in brushing off the dust of the older film to keep the story going nearly two decades later.

Shyamalan is not as artsy a filmmaker as he thinks he is. He pushes style above all else, as if his one and only direction was to make the film “moodier” at every opportunity. But having the psychologist speak in a dull, monotone voice for the entire movie comes off as more awkward than mysterious.

Several characters also try to infuse comic books with some grand design, but Shyamalan provides no real insight or understanding of comics. His attempts to sound profound about the funny books is about as clunky as his attempts to make the film moodier.

Having a vested interest in the characters and the earlier movies helps. “Glass” doesn’t hold your hand in explaining who everybody is and what’s so special about them. Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson do fine jobs reprising their old roles. Both actors are so practiced that they could play these characters in their sleep.

McAvoy is the real standout of the film, playing a character with 24 split personalities that he switches between on the fly. He’s a real showman.

“Glass” tries really hard to be profound, but mostly it’s just a solid sequel to a long ago superhero caper.

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