After a series of disappointing releases, 2016’s Split was a return to form for M. Night Shyamalan. That alone would have been exciting enough for movie lovers, but then the film’s final scene showed Bruce Willis’s David Dunn. The revelation that the film was a secret sequel to the 2000 hit Unbreakable was something fans had longed hoped for. The next film in the surprise franchise won’t catch anyone off guard though. This month will finally pay off the director’s long promise that his unlikely superhero story was always meant to be a trilogy, when Glass comes to theaters on January 18th. But will the movie be a reflection of Shyamalan’s best work, or will our high hopes be shattered? Based on the first reactions that hit the internet today, we might not like what we see.Critics on Twitter weren’t very kind to the film overall, even if they did like the first half of the movie and some performances.
#Glass throws around comic book terminology and ideas that just…aren’t real? A “limited edition” isn’t a thing. And it speaks about it all so clinically that it becomes tedious.
â€” Chris E. Hayner (@ChrisHayner) January 9, 2019
Glass is a disappointment, which pains me to say because no one was more excited for it than I was. Despite a few good things though, the more I think about it it’s thematically muddled, tonally cold, and lacking the heart or excitement of its predecessors. pic.twitter.com/Y19bGj92jT
â€” Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) January 9, 2019
#Glass is like going to the movies with that one friend who keeps whispering banal observations into your ear, and then leaning back satisfied that he’s just blown your mind. https://t.co/EkkKE8QeOT
â€” Angie J. Han (@ajhan) January 9, 2019
I kept my expectations tempered for #Glass, and yet still walked away disappointed. The story of these characters coming together is inept and shockingly boring, totally spoiling any imagined potential generated over the last 19 years. Spoiler-free review: https://t.co/kxW9ZkCBJK
â€” Eric Eisenberg (@eeisenberg) January 9, 2019
Man, GLASS, it left me bewildered. It’s like it was made by someone who hates superhero movies and also has never seen one, even though that’s not true. I disliked it, but I’m also fascinated by it. https://t.co/wmQBz6J2NY
â€” Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) January 9, 2019
Quick thoughts on #GlassMovie: Was not a fan sadly. Falls apart during the third act and underuses Bruce Willis as Dunn. Not a very satisfying ending to the story started in Unbreakable. Full review shortly. @GlassMovie pic.twitter.com/y57iWzTWgM
â€” Nicholas Whitcomb (@Whos_Nick) January 9, 2019
#GlassMovie trades in the effective straightforwardness of UNBREAKABLE for something…else in its climax that doesn’t ring true and muddies what was otherwise a fun film. Inexplicable character choices & conspiracies undercut what could have been. pic.twitter.com/opdiEimYf0
â€” Brandon Katz (@Great_Katzby) January 9, 2019
A look at some of the first reviews help explain what many think went wrong. Brandon Katz at the Observer said the movie starts off well, but gets in its own way in the second half.
“But sadly, Glass drags in its messy third act, which is bogged down by multiple tenuous connections and needless surprises that just feel tacked on for the hell of it. The overarching and opposing plans of certain main characters, the ultimate fates of others and the bare-bones plot are all used as cannon fodder in an attempt to shock and awe, when all they really do is bore and disappoint. Itâ€™s great that Glass strives for deeper meaning. However, by throwing so much at the audience so quickly, it unravels its own goal.”
Vox‘s Allison Wilkinson thinks the movie might even harm the legacy of the first two films in the trilogy.
“For Glass to work, it had to combine the frenetic energy of Split and the calm pacing of Unbreakable, weaving together Priceâ€™s theories about comic book stories, Dunnâ€™s heroics, and Crumbâ€™s unpredictability into one high-stakes tightrope.Instead, itâ€™s frayed and sagging. Priceâ€™s adulations of comic tropes no longer feel exciting and intriguing, but faintly ridiculous, as if they were scripted by someone whoâ€™s only read a few comic books and is pretty sure they know what theyâ€™re about. At one key moment, Price shouts, â€œAh, the classic turn!â€ Another character, one who ostensibly reads comics, has to have the concept of a â€œshowdownâ€ explained as a scene where the bad guys fight the good guys.”
Chris Evangelista at SlashFilm is sorry to say the movie is “terrible.”
“The long-awaited Unbreakable sequel that brings back characters from Shyamalanâ€™s masterpiece, and blends them with the characters from his most recent hit. This is an interesting idea, and all the pieces were in place for Shyamalan to finally solidify his comeback once and for all. To prove all the detractors wrong and reclaim the effusive praise that found him early in his career. But thatâ€™s not what happens here. Instead, Glass shatters under the weight of Shyamalanâ€™s ambition. Itâ€™s a messy, muddled, often downright stupid movie. It broke my heart.”
And since we know some Shyamalan fans will think these are critics out to get an unfairly maligned director, Evangelista also shared this.
Some context: I’m a ride or die Shyamalan fan. I stuck with him when many had given up. I think UNBREAKABLE is his best movie. I was SO excited for this movie. And it broke my heart.
â€” Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) January 9, 2019
He wasn’t the only one rooting for the film to feel let down. Eric Francisco at Inverse had sky-high expectations, but didn’t enjoy the film either, especially in comparison to the original film.
“Unbreakable was, and remains, great because it was a cerebral, atmospheric thriller with the mask of a superhero. Glass is the other way around, a watered down superhero movie pretending to be something deeper, and it consequently zaps away the mystique that once empowered this series.”
Not everyone hated it though.Ian Sandwell at DigitalSpy said he really “dug it,” in part because Shyamalan stuck to what worked before.“One of the smartest things that Shyamalan has done with Glass is to not go all blockbuster on us. There are crunching fight scenes, but the movie is more interested in big ideas than massive set pieces. In keeping with the tone of Unbreakable and Split, Glass is a dark psychological thriller and, as promised, its superhero leanings are grounded in real life and interrogating whether they can actually exist.”And he’s not entirely alone in liking it.
I really liked #GlassMovie, but there will be many who do not, as evidenced by the negative reviews youâ€™re seeing today. Iâ€™m very excited to talk about it on the @slashfilmcast
â€” Jeff Cannata (@jeffcannata) January 9, 2019
Glass is M. Nightâ€™s love letter to comic books featuring one of the best Samuel L. Jackson performances in a long time. Itâ€™s a bit of a slow burn but the ending is phenomenal. As a fan of Unbreakable, Glass was well worth the 19 year wait. #GlassMovie #GLASS pic.twitter.com/7Iix6vehAM
â€” Scott Menzel (@TheOtherScottM) January 9, 2019
On the whole, were these the reviews we were hoping for? No, but maybe that will help us be surprised by how much we end up liking it. That’s a twist we’d like to see.
Images: Universal Pictures