Know Before You Go: Five Things to Prepare You to See Glass
When M. Night Shyamalan released Unbreakable in 2000, it was initially met with confusion. The horror movie master had released a film with two of the day’s biggest stars, but it wasn’t typical scare fare. The thriller was deeply disturbing, but without things going ‘boo,’ the genius of Shyamalan’s approach was missed. In the years that followed, fans became more appreciative of the hidden surprises, but it really wasn’t until 2016 that things became as clear as, well, Glass. Here’s your quick guide to the series with some spoilers ahead.
Shyamalan spoke to CBS Sunday morning this past week about his unorthodox career and how audiences just didn’t get Unbreakable at first. With 20 years of perspective and 10 years into superhero fever, the reality-based comic book hero movie is almost fresher than when it was released. There are probably millions of ways to imagine metahumans on Earth, but the understated way that David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) exercise the limits of their abilities is fascinating. It’s so grounded, yet extraordinary and a real chess game of what we can vs. what we should do.
The movie aged beautifully and became a cult classic, but was fully resurrected in 2016 when Shyamalan released Split. It was a more classic horror scenario about a man (James McAvoy) living with 23 personalities. Some are good, some are bad, and some are so scary they even terrified the others. It wasn’t until the final act of the film that the Beast was unleashed. As it turns out, the mystery final personality wasn’t just savage, it gave Kevin Wendell Crumb animal-like strength and agility.
Here’s where the two strains met. At the end of Split, David Dunn is revealed to have kept a low profile while still using his ESP abilities to capture criminals. He pops up at the end of Split listening to information about Crumb and rumors about his terrible rampage. In Glass, we will see the three supers come together. These five quick facts will help you prepare for the meeting.
- Elijah spent his entire life searching for David. Suffering from brittle bone disease, but with a brilliant mind, Elijah was able to mastermind horrific terrorist events to draw out a worthy rival in Unbreakable. After learning that David was the sole survivor of a train crash, and is unable to suffer any injury, he begins luring David in with an evil scheme to be rivals. Being a more normal person, and not fully believing his own invincibility, David reports Elijah to the police. Elijah ends up in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, which appears to be where we will find him.
- David Dunn does wear a cape. That fact itself isn’t so important, but it speaks to the fact that if you’re paying attention, Shyamalan is always dropping clues. Dunn has a bad history with water that will hopefully be explored more thoroughly in Glass. When we finally see him extend his full abilities, he is wearing a rain slicker and looking more like a superhero. I love this part because most people probably wouldn’t run to get a custom latex suit tailored when they find they have uncanny abilities. Sometimes all you need is a poncho.
- Elijah is the only one who theorizes there are superhumans on Earth. David Dunn doubts his own abilities, although he’s sure about his ESP abilities. The invincibility part, however, he’s shaky on. When met with a loaded gun, he clearly showed fear and lacked confidence in his impenetrable body. Kevin’s psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Fletcher, seemed to be putting the clues together, but was killed in Split. Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) appears to be the skeptic of Glass and will either live long enough to learn the truth or die from her ignorance.
- Elijah is looking for a playmate, and it could be Kevin. Glass’ original goal was to find a worthy adversary to test his abilities against. However, that backfired in revealing the truth to David who was sane and put Elijah away. Now, instead of an opponent, he may be seeking an ally. It isn’t clear yet what the key is to control The Beast – he’s an equal opportunity killer. If he can crack the code, however, Elijah may be able to use The Beast at will.
- Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) is the only person to have survived an encounter with the Beast. I touch on this in almost every piece I write about Glass, but I predict it will be the key to everything. Kevin takes three victims hostage and eats two of them in addition to a few other fatalities. However, after saying Kevin’s full name, he sees something in Casey that stops him from killing her and she is able to talk him down. She otherwise hasn’t revealed her abilities yet, but hopefully, it involves putting a stop to the Beast and Elijah’s evil team.
Glass opens in theaters January 18.