McCoy on Movies: Glass

McCoy on Movies: Glass

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M. Night Shyamalan delivers his twist on superheroes and villains. See what our critic has to say.


“Man … I think someone has paid ‘Dance, Dance Revolution’ a little bit TOO much …” Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) watches in awe as one of the many personalities of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) dances with his newfound friend in a scene from the final (?) installment in M. Night Shyamalan’s heavy comic book-influenced thriller GLASS. Credit: Jessica Kourkounis/Universal Pictures © 2019 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.





KEY CAST MEMBERS: James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard and Adam David Thompson

DIRECTOR(S): M. Night Shyamalan 

THE BACK STORY: The culmination of the events of his previous films Unbreakable and Split, Glass stars Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychologist who has been brought in to a Philadelphia-area mental hospital. It is there where she is working to relieve three men of their delusions of being superheroes: Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), better known by his nicknames of “The Horde” in reference to his two dozen personalities ranging from 9 year-old Hedwig to stern British headmistress Patricia and “The Beast,” named for his deadliest, serial-killing personality. Only one woman, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) has escaped The Beast and lived to tell about it … And now she is fixated on the him in potentially unhealthy ways. 

Next up is David Dunn, a.k.a. The Overseer, a green poncho-wearing seemingly unbreakable (sorry – couldn’t resist!) man who was the only survivor of a train accident 19 years ago. Now, with the aid of his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), works as a vigilante around the City of Brotherly Love … As long as he doesn’t get wet. Last but certainly not least? Elijah Price, better known to law enforcement as first name Mister, last name Glass – a criminal mastermind with a very severe case of brittle bone disease that did not stop him from orchestrating the train accident that revealed David’s gift (or is that caused his delusion?) all those years ago. His mother (Charlayne Woodard) loves her son and just can’t seem to look past his murderous ways …

Now tasked with curing the men, Dr. Staple has her work cut out for her … Especially if their delusions of grandeur aren’t.

THE REVIEW: Much like his beloved comic books, M. Night Shyamalan’s movies are often the source of great debate about which ones are really good and which ones are just, well, awful. And after taking a much-deserved beating afters several hate-it-or-love-it features, the captain of the twist pulled a Dark Knight and redeemed himself with 2015’s quirky The Visit and then 2016’s Split, which featured one of the greatest (I know what I said!) performances in recent history by McAvoy as the Dissociative Identity Disorder-suffering Crumb. Then it was revealed (spoiler alert – you’ve had enough time) that the film was connected to the world Unbreakable created way back in 2000 and the hype that Glass would be his penultimate work became very real among his longstanding fans.

Well, guess what? Glass – while not perfect – delivers a super (enough) payoff for all your years of patience.

Glass has story holes in it – I mean, how else to explain one of the character’s actions given that everything that happened to that character should likely make them act in the EXACT opposite way they do. Likewise, if you’ve been paying attention to Shyamalan for any significant period of time, you’ll likely figure out there is something amiss before it is revealed even if you don’t figure out everything.

Those two things notwithstanding, Glass benefits from its best elements well: Shyamlan’s true exploration of comic book dynamics (as opposed to pure good vs. evil fights) and the performances of McAvoy and Jackson. Seriously, Glass isn’t the type of film that will ever get someone nominated, but McAvoy really deserves some type of recognition for making his role work so well while Jackson really pulls off that whole “evil mastermind despite his limitations” character phenomenally well. Be happy Mr. Glass isn’t real, folks …

The last point is made because in this golden age of superheroes movies, Shyamalan’s film is much more of an intellectual comic book movie moreso than what audiences have come to expect from the Marvel Universe (and usually pray DC Comics/Warner Bros. can try to emulate with their various properties). Thus, if you really enjoyed Unbreakable and Split, you’ll likely like Glass. If you are expecting something like Aquaman or Avengers: Infinity War‘s big blowout action sequences, you’re in the wrong place. This is more Scream for the superhero movie … If instead of parodies and murder you just had Jamie Kennedy’s Randy character moving the story forward. This is more a tale of connected lives, destinies and of course, the unique ways people with extraordinary abilities in comic books function.

Given the glut of superhero movies these days, the fact Glass challenges you to explore them in a way rarely seen these days is quite a twist, indeed. 



Tabari McCoy
Columnist - Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. An award-winning stand-up comedian who also works as the public relations director at Cincinnati Museum Center, Tabari McCoy is the creator of McCoy on Movies, a blog about movies for film fans. The blog is written by someone who also likes movies that is smart enough to know his opinion isn't always the right one but is willing to express that opinion in public. McCoy also used to review movies for his college paper and a major metropolitan publication, so that helps add to his "street cred." Contact him at You can also check out more of his work on his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy.