M. Night Shyamalan‘s Glass has audiences split. (No pun intended.) To date, the subversive superhero flick has raked in $106.4 million off of a $20 million budget – which Shyamalan financed himself – making it a bonafide box office hit. But the actual plot hasn’t exactly inspired unanimous praise. The film has a measly 36% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and has inspired a lot of in-fighting on social media. That’s par for the course for the controversial filmmaker, known for his twist endings. But was Glass actually a bad ending? Or was it secretly one of Shyamalan’s best?
Glass is a sequel to both Unbreakable and Split, two of Shyamalan’s best-regarded works. All three take superhero stories to task, refusing to give into the genre’s sense of relief and vindication, opting for more grounded takes on super-human powers. In Unbreakable, Bruce Willis plays David Dunn, a Philadelphia man who survives a train crash that kills every other passenger. He’s forced to confront his supernatural strength after meeting Elijah Price ( Samuel L. Jackson), a fragile man who we learn in a twist is a super-villain terrorist who orchestrated the crash. In Split, we meet James McAvoy‘s Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with dissociative identity disorder who has 23 different personalities, one of which is prone to kidnapping young girls. By that film’s end, Kevin morphs into his most prominent personality, The Beast, and escapes. In Glass, David, Kevin, and Elijah are all confined to the same psychiatric hospital, where they must confront the reality of their powers – if they are even powers at all.
This all leads to an epic – or not so epic, depending on your interpretation – showdown that has been the major source of consternation for fans. Is it a brilliant conclusion to the trilogy, or does it fail the characters we’ve come to care about? That will depend entirely on your own reading of Shyamalan’s film, but it’s hard to deny that he was bold in conviction when he wrote the ending of Glass.
Sadly, if the film left you longing for more, Shyamalan has confirmed he’s done with this story for now, telling Entertainment Weekly, “I’m an original filmmaker and I want to keep on telling new stories and new characters.” We don’t know just yet what his next project will be, but we guarantee we’ll be talking about it, whatever it is.
Image: Blumhouse/Universal Pictures