Glass (2019 film)
Glass is a 2019 American psychological thriller superhero film written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film is a crossover and sequel to Shyamalan's previous films Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), serving as the final installment in the Unbreakable trilogy. Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard reprise their Unbreakable roles, while James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy return as their Split characters, with Sarah Paulson, Adam David Thompson, and Luke Kirby joining the cast. In the film, David Dunn becomes locked in a mental hospital alongside his archenemy Mr. Glass, as well as the multi-personality "The Horde," and must contend with a psychiatrist who is out to prove the trio do not actually possess super-human abilities.
U.K. theatrical release poster
|Directed by||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Written by||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Music by||West Dylan Thordson|
Scores from Unbreakable by James Newton Howard
|Box office||$247 million|
Despite interest in a sequel, Touchstone Pictures opted not to finance one. Shyamalan set out to write Split using a character he had written for Unbreakable but pulled from its script due to balance issues. Shyamalan realized the opportunity he had to create a trilogy of works, and used the ending of Split to establish the film as within the Unbreakable narrative. This included securing the rights to use Willis's Unbreakable character from Walt Disney Studios, with the promise of including Disney within the production and distribution of this third film alongside Universal Pictures. Split was a financial and critical success, and by April 2017, Shyamalan announced that he started the production process for Glass.
The film was released on January 18, 2019, by Universal Pictures in the United States. It grossed $247 million worldwide, against a $20 million production budget, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 2019. Glass received "generally unfavorable reviews" from critics, with some criticizing the film’s climax, finding it as "disappointing" and "underwhelming", although the performances were praised.
Three weeks since the emergence of Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with a dissociative identity disorder whom the press named "The Horde", [N 1] David Dunn, a superhuman vigilante called "The Overseer", named by the internet, has been tracking Kevin with the help of his now-teenage son Joseph. David stumbles across one of Kevin's personalities, "Hedwig", whom he follows to an abandoned building where Kevin has four cheerleaders hostage. As David rescues the cheerleaders, Kevin's alter ego "The Beast" comes after him. During their confrontation, they are stopped by a group of Philadelphia police officers lead by Dr. Ellie Staple who arrests the men and takes them to an institution for the criminally insane where David's past foe - Elijah Price / Mr. Glass is also being held after being sent for his crimes 19 years ago.[N 2]
Staple reveals her duty to the three men; which is to convince them they are just ordinary humans with no powers who simply believe they do otherwise they're sent back for trial. The trio are placed in separate rooms each containing a security measure to prevent them from escaping. Joeseph, Elijah's mother and Casey Cooke (a survivor of the Beast's previous attack) all visit at different times in an attempt to aid David, Elijah and Kevin but ultimately fail. As part of her final evaluation, Staple brings the three patients to one room and begins to slowly chip away at David and the Horde's belief in their abilities as being supernatural or superhuman. That night, Elijah breaks into Kevin's room revealing that he has been swapping out his medication with aspirin and faking his sedated state. He then explains he had become interested in the Beast and wants to team up with him to escape the institution. However, Staple catches Elijah and performs laser surgery on his brain to lobotomize him although Elijah had anticipated this and had previously sabotaged the surgical laser, causing it to have no effect on him. He escapes captivity by slitting an orderly's throat with a shard of broken glass, and sets off to awaken the Beast.
Elijah convinces the Beast to attack David in Philadelphia's new high-rise tower in the city where he would plan to expose the existence of superhumans to the world. Elijah then reveals to David he plans to destroy a chemical company within the building which would kill hundreds of people, unless David escapes his room to defeat him and the Beast forcing David to accept his true superhuman nature. Kevin and Elijah escape the institution together as David also escapes and pursues the pair. Meanwhile, Joseph, Mrs. Price and Casey arrive at the institution having done their individual research. They attempt to convince Staple about her misconception regarding her patients when the breakouts occur.
David and the Beast's battle is taken outside the institution and are eventually evenly matched. Staple orders police officers subdue the two men and David and the Beast resist the officers. Elijah informs to the Beast of David's weakness of water so that the Beast can kill him by using his weakness but Joseph intervenes as he exposes Elijah's bombing of the Eastrail 177 train[N 3] which also caused Kevin's father's death that also lead to his mother's abuse toward him hence the creation of his alternate personalities who sworn to protect Kevin. Despite all this, the Beast thanks Elijah for his creation then attacks Elijah for Kevin's protection. The Beast then throws David into a water tank and begins to strangle him, however, David manages to regain strength but is critically weakened. Before the Beast gets the chance to flee, Casey summons Kevin who is fatality shot by a sniper commanded by Staple and dies in Casey's arms as he is granted full custody of the "Light" by his personalities. Staple's men then come to overpower David and manage to drown him in a puddle. Before David dies, Staple allows David to touch her hand which allows him to see a vision which reveals her being part of a clandestine organisation whose goal is to cover up the existence of superhumans. Staple then reveals that if he came to his senses of being normal, this wouldn't have happened. She then goes over to a dying Elijah and explains a conspiracy that has masterminded the suppression, pacification, and genocide of superhuman heroes and villains for millennia, in order to protect modern civilization from what they fear would become the tyranny of living "gods" over "men".
In the aftermath, Staple deletes the footage from the security cameras and reports her mission as a success but unbeknownst to her, Elijah had hacked the cameras and live streamed the event to a private network which Joseph, Mrs. Price and Casey all receive a copy of the footage and decide to release it publicly.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price / Mr. Glass: A superhumanly intelligent mass murderer and comic book theorist with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta, who was institutionalized after Dunn discovered his crimes.
- James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb / The Horde: A former Philadelphia Zoo employee with 23 different personalities whose body chemistry changes with each personality, resulting in a 24th personality known as "The Beast", a savage superhuman cannibal whose abilities include superhuman strength, speed, durability, and agility. Kevin's personalities also include Jade (a teenage girl), Orwell (a historian), Barry (an effeminate man), Patricia (a proper British woman), Hedwig (a nine-year-old boy), Ian and Mary Reynolds (Irish twins), Dennis (a perverted man suffering from OCD), Norma (a Southern woman), Luke (a Southern man who spoils movies), Heinrich (an autistic man), Felida (a Spanish-speaking woman), Goddard (an intelligent man), B.T. (a preacher of the Beast), Jalin (a hyperactive surfer), Polly (a girl sycophantic to Patricia), and Mr. Pritchard (a professor of Japanese cinema).
- Bruce Willis as David Dunn / The Overseer: An indestructible security guard with superhuman strength and stamina, as well as an extrasensory ability to see the crimes people have committed by touching them. In the film, Dunn goes by a new alias, "The Overseer".
- Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple: A psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur who treats patients convinced they are superhuman beings. She is a member of a secret society that covers up the existence of superhumans from the rest of the world, even resorting to murder if necessary.
- Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke: A teenage girl with a history of abuse who was kidnapped by one of Kevin's personalities as a potential sacrifice to "The Beast" but managed to survive.
- Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn: David's son who has believed in his father's abilities since he was a child and sees him as a real-life superhero.
- Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price: Elijah's mother, who took great care of her son, and always told him he was special no matter what others said.
- Luke Kirby as Pierce, one of Mr. Glass's caretakers at the facility.
- Adam David Thompson as Daryl, an employee at the psych ward.
M. Night Shyamalan reprises his cameo role of Jai, the security guard from Dr. Fletcher's apartment building in Split, who confesses to David Dunn that he was also the same man he confronted about selling drugs at the university stadium in Unbreakable. Additionally, Shannon Destiny Ryan, Diana Silvers, Nina Wisner, and Kyli Zion portrayed the cheerleaders at the start of the film whom one of Kevin's personalities kidnapped. Rosemary Howard and Bryan McElroy portray Kevin's parents, Penelope and Clarence.
After Unbreakable's release in 2000, rumors of possible sequels began circulating in different interviews and in film fansites. In 2000, Bruce Willis was quoted as hoping for an Unbreakable trilogy. In December 2000, M. Night Shyamalan denied rumors he had written Unbreakable as the first installment of a trilogy. In August 2001, he stated that because of successful DVD sales, he had approached Touchstone Pictures about an Unbreakable sequel, an idea Shyamalan said the studio originally declined because of the film's disappointing box office performance.
In September 2008, Shyamalan and Samuel L. Jackson's stated discussions about making a sequel had been largely abandoned in light of the disappointing box office returns. Jackson indicated he was still interested in a sequel, but Shyamalan remained noncommittal. In February 2010, Willis said that Shyamalan was "still thinking about doing the fight movie between me and Sam" and stated that as long as Jackson was able to participate, he would be "up for it."
Shyamalan continued to work on other films, releasing Split in 2016. Kevin Wendell Crumb, played by James McAvoy, is a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder, that affects his body chemistry to such an extent that he adopts the mannerisms of each separate persona. One of these personalities is "The Beast", which drives Crumb's body into a feral superhuman state, guided by the desire to consume those who have not had a traumatic situation in their lives—those it does not consider "broken." Crumb had initially been written into the script for Unbreakable, but Shyamalan felt there were balancing issues with his inclusion and removed him from the story. Split was effectively rewritten from some of the scenes he had planned for Crumb and expanded out into a standalone picture.
The final scene for Split includes the appearance of David Dunn, played by Willis. Shyamalan included Dunn here to connect Split to Unbreakable, by showing Dunn learning about the escape of "The Beast" and thereby realizing that other superhumans exist, as predicted by Mr. Glass (Jackson). In 2017, Shyamalan stated although he hoped a third Unbreakable film would be made and already had an outline prepared, "I don't know what's going to happen when I go off in my room, a week after this film opens, to write the script."
Unbreakable had been produced under Touchstone, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, while Split was produced through Universal Pictures. Shyamalan obtained permission from Disney to reuse the character of Dunn. He met with Walt Disney Studios president Sean Bailey and came to a gentlemen's agreement, whereby Bailey agreed to allow the use of the character in the film without a fee and Shyamalan promised that Disney would be involved in a sequel, if developed.
Split was met with critical and financial success and, in February 2017, Shyamalan affirmed his next film would be the third work in the trilogy. Shyamalan finished the script by April 2017, announcing that it would be called Glass and have a target release date of January 18, 2019. Universal was selected to distribute the film in the United States, while Disney distributes the film internationally through its Buena Vista International label.
The cast includes returning actors from both films: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard from Unbreakable and James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy from Split, all reprise their respective roles, while Sarah Paulson plays a new character. In November 2017, Adam David Thompson joined the cast in an undisclosed role.
Principal photography began on October 2, 2017, in Philadelphia, following a week of rehearsals, with plans for a thirty-nine–day shoot. On October 31, 2017, it was reported that Shyamalan would be filming at Allentown State Hospital for a few weeks. On December 12, 2017, Shyamalan revealed that four scenes would be shot in January 2018, stating he would have to travel for their filming. On February 16, 2018, a scene was filmed at the Bryn Mawr College athletic center. Deleted scenes from Unbreakable were used as flashback sequences.
West Dylan Thordson returned to score the film after his collaboration with the director on Split. He used themes from the score of Unbreakable by James Newton Howard, alongside that of Split, in composing Glass's music. The score is distributed digitally by Back Lot Music.
On April 25, 2018, the film was featured at CinemaCon, with Shyamalan in attendance. He presented footage from the film, along with the first official image, featuring Willis, Jackson and McAvoy in character. He also expressed his intention for the film, saying, "The worlds of Unbreakable and Split finally collide in Glass. What if these real life superheroes and super-villains are somehow locked up together? What could go wrong?" Despite being preceded by hyper-realistic films about superheroes and villains, like The Dark Knight, Shyamalan personally considered Glass to be the "first truly grounded comic book movie". On July 12, 2018, the first official photographs from production were released publicly, including shots of Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, and James McAvoy. On July 20, 2018, the film was promoted at San Diego Comic-Con, with Shyamalan, Willis, Jackson, Taylor-Joy and Paulson attending a panel, where the film's first trailer premiered.
Glass was theatrically released on January 18, 2019, in the United States and Canada by Universal Pictures and in international territories by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, through their Buena Vista International label. The first screening for Glass occurred on January 12, 2019, at 25 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations.
Glass was released by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment in the U.S., and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment internationally, under the Buena Vista Home Entertainment label, on digital on April 2, 2019, and on Blu-Ray on April 16, 2019.
Glass grossed $111 million in the United States and Canada, and $135.9 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $247 million, against a production budget of $20 million.
In the United States and Canada, Glass was projected to make $50–75 million from 3,841 theaters over its four-day MLK Day opening weekend. It made $16 million on its first day, including $3.7 million from Thursday night previews, and went on to gross $40.5 million in its opening weekend, and $46.5 million over the four days, marking the third-best total for Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and of Shyamalan's career. In its second weekend the film fell 53% to $19 million (a steeper drop than Split's 35%), retaining the top spot at the box office. The film then finished first for a third straight weekend, grossing $9.5 million, before finally being dethroned in its fourth weekend, grossing $6.3 million and finishing fifth.
Internationally, the film was expected to gross $45–50 million in its first weekend, for a total of global opening of $105–120 million. It ended up making $48.5 million from international markets, and had a global opening of $89.1 million. It finished first in most markets, while its highest-grossing countries were Russia ($5.2 million), Mexico ($4.5 million, the best-ever for a Shyamalan film), the United Kingdom ($4.3 million), France ($3.4 million) and South Korea ($2.8 million).
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37% based on 346 reviews, with an average rating of 5.13/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Glass displays a few glimmers of M. Night Shyamalan at his twisty world-building best, but ultimately disappoints as the conclusion to the writer-director's long-gestating trilogy." On Metacritic, which assigns weighted average ratings to reviews, the film has a score of 42 out of 100, based on 52 critics, summarizing its sample as "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, down from Split's "B+" but up from Unbreakable's "C", while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 70% and a "definite recommend" of 49%.
David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a "C−" and called it the biggest disappointment of Shyamalan's career: "The trouble with Glass isn't that its creator sees his own reflection at every turn, or that he goes so far out of his way to contort the film into a clear parable for the many stages of his turbulent career; the trouble with Glass is that its mildly intriguing meta-textual narrative is so much richer and more compelling than the asinine story that Shyamalan tells on its surface." Writing for Rolling Stone, David Fear gave the film three out of five stars: "Glass is not the flaming flop some folks have already suggested it is, nor is it the movie you want in terms of tying ambitious, highfalutin notions together about how we process our pulp mythos. In a world in which all movies are now either genocide or ice cream, it's a grand gesture characterized by a sense of ambivalence about what you've just seen—which may in and of itself be a sign of failure."
Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote: "It's good to see Shyamalan back (to a degree) in form, to the extent that he's recovered his basic mojo as a yarn spinner. But Glass occupies us without haunting us; it's more busy than it is stirring or exciting. Maybe that's because revisiting this material feels a touch opportunistic, and maybe it's because the deluge of comic-book movies that now threatens to engulf us on a daily basis has leeched what's left of the mystery out of comics." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "an underwhelming, half-baked, slightly sour and even off-putting finale". Joshua Rivera of GQ magazine stated: "The timeline is barely comprehensible, with twists so openly telegraphed they'd have saved the Titanic." 
David Sims of The Atlantic compared the film to Batman Returns and Incredibles 2: "I appreciate the sheer brashness of Shyamalan’s storytelling, which swirls the mythmaking inherent in characters such as David with the emotional scars borne by orphaned characters such as Superman." Also praise was reserved for McAvoy who "once again [was] top notch" and "lit up the screen with his eerie physicality every time he appears".
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