The Corner

Books, Arts & Manners

Through a Glass, Slowly

Bruce Willis in Glass (Universal Picures/Trailer image via YouTube)

So I saw Glass. I liked it. But I didn’t love it. I’ll avoid all spoilers.

What I liked: It closed the circle on the trilogy with some integrity. I don’t know if M. Night Shyamalan intended it to be a trilogy when he made Unbreakable, but there were enough callbacks that it felt like the organic conclusion to the story — while leaving room for sequels in the franchise. Shyamalan doesn’t quite get the credit he deserves (except from Sonny Bunch) for kind of being ahead of the curve on the live-action superhero genre. Which is ironic because one of the things Shyamalan does is err on the side of keeping the superhuman action . . . human. And that’s refreshing in a weird way. We’re so drenched in CGI action with buildings being hurled and whatnot, that seeing mere cars being shoved seems almost endearing.

What I didn’t like: It’s way too slow and long. Shyamalan is one of the rare writer-directors who typically has a really solid understanding of how to start a movie — to seduce you into the premise — and often a great idea for an ending (though sometimes he swings and misses) but really struggles with the middle. Sometimes it works great, as in The Sixth Sense, but more often it drags because he’s really just trying to persuade the audience that the ending will be worth the wait. And when it’s not, the price of the middle isn’t recouped by the payoff at the end. He’s also hurt by the fact that he sticks to this formula fairly uniformly, so the audience is more likely to get impatient for the twist. That’s what I didn’t like about Split. The big reveal at the end didn’t shock me nearly enough. Glass doesn’t have that problem. I think the payoff at the end is pretty good. But my God, the middle drags along. He could have cut 20 minutes out of the middle and it would have only improved it.

Still, as with Split and Unbreakable (which also dragged in the middle), Glass feels like it will stay with me in ways that many other movies don’t. The slow bits melt away in the memory, like the boring bits on an adventurous long drive. I have other complaints about little things, but as I promised not to traffic in spoilers, I’ll leave them for another time. If you liked the first two, I think you should see it. If you didn’t, I can’t imagine why you’d bother.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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