Glass Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy; an attempt to create a movie universe that is significantly different from Marvel and DC

The director takes a swing at a story with a lot of meaning, but fails to tell it decently

Glass movie meaning

Genre science fiction, thriller
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Starring Bruce Willis (David Dunn / The Invigilator), Samuel L. Jackson (Elijah Price / Mr. Glass), James McAvoy (Kevin Crumb / The Horde), Sarah Paulson (Dr. Ellie Staple), Anya Taylor-Joy (Casey Cook), etc.
Walt Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures, Blinding Edge Pictures Studios
Year of release 2019
IMDb Website

It took director M. Night Shyamalan nearly nineteen years to complete the trilogy that began with Unbreakable, starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. In 2000, when this film saw the light of day, there wasn’t yet a big cult following around comic book adaptations, and the idea of an ordinary man discovering incredible powers within himself seemed worth pursuing. Shyamalan, who served as writer and director, emphasized not the special effects, but the internal acceptance of himself as the hero. Alas, the movie was not a box office success. The reason for this was the popularity of Shyamalan’s previous film “The Sixth Sense”, in which he also starred Bruce Willis (apparently, the audience expected from “Unbreakable” the same techniques as in “The Sixth Sense” – mysticism and unexpected ending). Therefore, M. Night Shyamalan engaged in other projects (“Signs”, “The Mysterious Forest”, “The Apparition”, “The Visit”), although he still had plans to realize the continuation of the story of superheroes.

In 2017, the psychological thriller “Split” with James McAvoy, who played a kidnapper of young girls with multiple personality disorder, was released on the big screens. The character had 23 of them, and behind them lurked another super-personality – a creature named Beast, for whom the kidnapped victims were prepared. The movie received good reviews and, which was not immediately clear, was connected to “Unbreakable”. About this at the end of the tape hinted at the appearance of the character of Bruce Willis, who watched the report on the kidnapper.

With the third movie M. Night Shyamalan is no longer delayed, immediately began shooting. He assembled a team of actors from “Unbreakable” and “Split” to push their characters in an epic battle and explain to the viewer what is the role of a superhero in this world. It is worth noting that the cinematic universe created by Shyamalan is based on a certain law – the supernatural abilities of the heroes are awakened against the background of the work of their consciousness. It is around this feature that the director built the plot of the third film.

So, the actions of the picture “Glass” unfold in Philadelphia. We are shown the life of old David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who punishes bad people, taking advantage of his invulnerability and the ability to see other people’s thoughts. In the same town, Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) continues to kidnap schoolgirls, whom he feeds to the Beast. David goes after Crumb, but instead of disarming the criminal, he ends up in a mental hospital with him. There, too, is a genius with unusually brittle bones named Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), an old acquaintance of Dunn’s who once committed a mass murder in the name of believing in the awakening of superpowers. At this specialized facility, the three of them are to undergo therapy with Dr. Ellie Staple (a new character played by Sarah Paulson). She insists that they are not superheroes, but simply crazy people, whose feats have quite logical explanations.

One of the main problems of “Glass” is noticeable from the first minutes – it is not the most harmonious unification of quite different characters with different backgrounds, who are trying to get along in a new genre framework (as ridiculous as the pink walls of a psychiatric hospital). The reason audiences (other than Shyamalan fans) didn’t guess that the action of “Split” takes place in the same universe as the action of “Unbreakable” lies in the films’ different atmospheres.

“Unbreakable” was remembered for the gray ordinariness, against which background dramatically revealed the problem of personal crisis of the main character. “Split” was like a typical thriller, where the hostages have to escape from the kidnapper until he takes their lives. But the picture of “Glass” is mottled with bright colors, and also presses intrusive camerawork. The movie is stuffed with a lot of close-ups, designed to impress the viewer. However, over time they tire and lose their effect – even on such actors as Willis and Jackson you don’t always want to look at them point-blank.

Moreover, you expect action from “Glass”, because there are three unique characters capable of amazing deeds. But instead you get endless dialogs (here are the close-ups). Shyamalan presents them to the viewer as reflections and explanations of earlier events. Unfortunately, there is no psychological game or grandiose intrigue in it. Even the supporting characters are not of much use – David Dunn’s grown-up son, Mr. Glass’s irascible mother and a girl named Casey Cook – the only hostage released by the Beast – appear in the frame. True, thanks to them there are at least some shifts of action, so there is still some use for them.

Otherwise, the viewer for two hours becomes an observer of the movie, which every thirty minutes promises to demonstrate something impressive, but instead turns another page of boredom. Not even James McAvoy’s acting saves the situation. The split personality of his character in “Split” was a fascinating spectacle, but in “Glass” it no longer produces the proper effect.

As for Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson (this is, by the way, their fifth film together), the actors in principle want to see in any movie. Except that Bruce Willis since the release of “Unbreakable” noticeably aged and is not in the best physical shape, so his invulnerability is now difficult to believe. In “Glass” this problem is solved in a rather simple way – preparing to go into battle, the hero of David Dunn puts on a cape, so on the screen we see the figure of a man who is not always Willis. And everything would not be so bad, but only on the background of the brutal silhouette of James McAvoy, Willis’s character does not look like a “tough nut”.

Joined the story actress Sarah Paulson and her character does not cause any emotions. Although, it would seem, because of her, all three superheroes sit in solitary confinement and are tested for adequacy. Paulson looks good in the frame, beautifully walks around the hospital, makes heartfelt speeches, but still does not hook – and neither the viewer, nor even the main characters.

Thankfully, M. Night Shyamalan, having enjoyed the fact of the existence of his own movie universe, still lays in the script unexpected ending. Do not expect that he will impress you for life, but the denouement at least a little compensates for the mediocrity of the movie. The film is also enlivened by the soundtrack, written by West’s Dylan Thordson. To be honest, some compositions are more suitable for a thriller (here after the tense notes nothing changes), but without them “Glass” would be completely impersonal.


Those who have not watched “Unbreakable” and “Split”, there is no point in going to the theater to see the movie “Glass” – it has too many references to previous stories. At the same time, those who waited for the final part of the trilogy, when watching it will be tedious. All because the tape has a lot of repetitive moments from “Unbreakable” and “Split”. It turns out that the new movie is not particularly happy about anything, and there are no grandiose scenes in it. Curious only one thing – what events will be the final for the heroes of Shyamalan’s universe.

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