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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Oh, boy. Deep down, I knew the honeymoon on the M. Night Shyamalaissance couldn’t last forever, even if I hoped it would. Not long ago, Shyamalan was something of a laughingstock, with his obligatory “twists” turned into a punchline of virtually every film-related joke (no, it’s not still funny to say “what a tweest”…at least not to me). But with The Visit and Split, things seemed to be coming up for him, and audiences were more than happy to welcome his return.

But could Glass, a film that functions as a sequel to both Unbreakable and Split, actually satisfy fans who have hungered to see this franchise come to fruition? Early online Twitter buzz seemed to indicate yes, but with the first batch of actual critical reviews now hitting, it looks like our excitement may have been improperly placed.

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Here are some choice quotes from some reviews for the film:

Variety

“Shyamalan may be the most gifted director of the last 20 years to see his own name turn into a punchline. It’s not just that he singlehandedly made the words “twist ending” into a signature that become a tic that began, over time, to inspire a collective eye roll. It’s that as his films grew less confident and more mannered, the tail seemed to be wagging the dog, as if everything that preceded his trademark twists had no purpose but to lead up to them. Shyamalan, though, as he proved with “Split,” can still win over an audience, and in “Glass” he’s a poised and confident filmmaker who seizes our attention.

Yet the movie, watchable as it is, is still a disappointment, because it extends and belabors the conceits of “Unbreakable” without the sensation of mystical dark discovery that made that film indelible. “Glass” is a sequel that feels more dutiful than necessary. It turns the earlier film’s ominous pop poetry into overexplicit blockbuster prose.”

Inverse

“Even at his worst, M. Night Shyamalan is a master of understated communication. Unbreakable didn’t need to be in company with the MCU for us to recognize what he could do differently. Neither did Split, a monster movie that existed on its own terms until the very last scene. But in Glass, Shyamalan is so worried we’ll be lost in his maze that every character needs to bring up comic books to remind us what’s happening. He may as well have thrown in thought bubbles telling us what his characters are feeling.”

Screen Crush

Glass is a major step down from Unbreakable, which remains one of Shyamalan’s best-conceived films visually, structurally, and thematically. The way Unbreakable is shot — mostly in long, ahem, unbroken takes — underscores the things it is about. It’s also moody and ominous and simultaneously uplifting and depressing. Looking at it in 2019, it’s obvious what critics saw in the young Shyamalan, and why he was compared to filmmakers like Spielberg and Hitchcock. The guy who made Unbreakable warranted those comparisons.

So where is that guy in Glass? Shyamalan throws in a few long takes and one or two bold camera angles. Otherwise, Glass is perfunctorily shot — and the flashbacks to the events of Unbreakable (using footage from that film) only serve to remind viewers how interesting it was to look at, and how this one is mostly just … there.”

Cinema Blend

“Sadly, now that it’s done we are left in a position where in retrospect all of that audience outcry seems like it was a really bad idea. Because while Unbreakable and Split still function on their own and remain entirely watchable, the third chapter in the series is a real mess that is not just underwritten and unsatisfying, but also outrageously boring.”

Will all this affect whether or not I see this movie? Hell no. It’s already in my “must watch” column for the year, so I’ll see it, but it may ultimately affect those who were on the fence about it.

But what about you? Do these negative reviews scare you? Let us know if you’ll be spending your hard-earned cash on Glass when it hits theaters on January 18.

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SOURCE: Various (linked above)

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.