Glass: A Split Audience

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Night Shyamalan brings his superhero trilogy to a close with his new film, Glass. The events from two of Shyamalan’s previous movies, Unbreakable and Split, are tied and twisted together in this grimm, grounded—and at times—bizzare movie.

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Night Shyamalan speaking at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con International for “Glass.” Photo by Gage Skidmore, under CC BY-SA 2.0.

While some fans were excited, many were left confused by the hype.

“I thought Split was just a standalone movie,” Tyler Warner said, a T.V. video production major at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Split was released in 2016 and plays out as a psychological horror thriller.

“At first I found Split to be interesting,” Warner said. “It seemed like a psychological thriller. The fact that this person was able to turn into a monster felt unrealistic to me.”

The person Warner is referring to is James McAvoy’s character, Kevin Crumb, a disturbed man with 23 alternate personalities and an emerging 24th personality which he refers to as “The Beast.”

When transformed into “The Beast,” McAvoy grows into a monstrous deformity that can climb up walls and bend steel bars.

Warner did not see Unbreakable, nor did he understand the twist at the end of Split.

“I guess since I didn’t see the first movie, I just didn’t understand the reality that these characters lived in,” Warner said.

Unbreakable was released in 2000 and starred Bruce Willis as David Dunn, a man who reluctantly realizes his superhuman abilities after being the sole survivor of a trainwreck. Dunn is referred to as “the overseer.” He has superhuman strength and when touching someone, he can see a vision of their crimes or sins.

Samuel L. Jackson also starred in the film as Elijah Price, an incredibly intelligent man with a rare bone disorder who believes superheroes are real. Price refers to himself as, “Mr. Glass.”

In the finale of Split, David Dunn is seen at a diner watching the news, where he learns Kevin Crumb is still at large.

Glass opens with David Dunn pursuing Kevin Crumb. He eventually tracks Crumb down in an abandoned warehouse where four cheerleaders are held captive. The hostages are able to escape while a fight breaks out between Dunn and Crumb.


The two are caught mid-fight by the police and Dr. Elie Staple, played by Sarah Paulson. They end up in a mental hospital where Elijah has resided for several years.

Shyamalan’s new film is a slow burn. It builds up with poignant dialogue matched with colorful and cerebral imagery. At best, the audience is presented with a case study in three peculiar characters who are both colorful and calamitous.

People who loved the psychological aspect of Split may be pleased. McAvoy’s charismatic portrayal of 24 different personalities within one man’s broken mind is only enhanced in this movie.

However, if you are uninformed of the reality Shyamalan created with Bruce Willis in 2000, you may be overwhelmed.

Diana Fitzwilliam, an education major at SUNY Potsdam, thoroughly enjoyed Glass.

“I felt it all tied in really well,” Fitzwilliam said. “I honestly had no idea where anything was going to go. But it all made sense and it wasn’t predictable, which I enjoy in a movie.”

Fitzwilliam did have to go back and watch Unbreakable before seeing the new movie.

“Unbreakable is honestly just really sad,” Fitzwilliam said. “Not so much dark as it is sad. Split was sad, but I felt it was more intense than Unbreakable.”

In the finale of Glass, Elijah, David and Kevin are vanquished by a secret society whose mission is to destroy any form of superhuman life in order to restore balance in the world. The entire study conducted by Dr. Ellie Stapler at the hospital was a setup.

While the film is not an ordinary superhero story, it does leave the audience with something to think about. Is having extraordinary abilities a gift or a curse? As Stapler says to David Dunn, “There just can’t be gods among us.”
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Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy in the film Glass.

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