Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan's long-awaited follow-up to Unbreakable, Glass, is out next week, serving as a sequel to the 2000 post-modern superhero film, along with 2016's pseudo-sequel Split. Early reviews for the film have been released, with critics finding the crossover movie disappointing and disjointed, with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson largely wasted. There is a decent amount of praise, though, for James McAvoy's performance as the film's villain.
At this early stage, more than a week from release, the film currently holds a 42 percent score on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Below is a selection of early reviews for Glass:
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: "Glass occupies us without haunting us; it’s more busy than it is stirring or exciting. Maybe that’s because revisiting this material feels a touch opportunistic, and maybe it’s because the deluge of comic book movies that now threatens to engulf us on a daily basis has leeched what’s left of the mystery out of comics."
Chris Evangelista, Slash Film: "With Glass, M. Night Shyamalan brings together the worlds of Unbreakable and Split, and the result is depressing and disappointing. After regaining most of his directorial mojo with his most recent work, Shyamalan now takes a huge, unfortunate step backwards, tarnishing the legacy of Unbreakable, his best movie, in the process."
Angie Han, Mashable: "It's a superhero movie that seems to believe it's cleverer than other superhero movies because it calls out the genre's staples, but in doing so reveals only that it has no real insight into what makes superheroes click -- either the characters themselves, or the genre they comprise."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire: "For all of the endless blather about how comic books have the power to reveal all of our secret identities -- one of Jackson’s pronouncements about the power of narrative tropes veers close to making Glass feel like the Life Itself of superhero movies -- Shyamalan never meaningfully engages with the genre. And while his characters are meant to evoke classic superhero archetypes, their extreme lack of depth or development only calls attention to how far the form has come thanks to movies like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse."
Sam Adams, Slate: "Despite the introduction of new elements, notably a psychiatrist played by Sarah Paulson who captures David and Kevin and tries to cure them of what she believes to be the delusion that they are more than human, Glass feels very much like a single act of a movie stretched out to feature length. Shyamalan has done slow burns before, but Glass is more than an hour old before Jackson gets to do more than drool and twitch his eyes. It’s as if Elijah’s sedatives are wearing off in real time."
Karen Han, Polygon: "Glass can’t stand on its own. Worse than that, it throws its own three-film buildup under the bus for the sake of a twist and an open-ended non-resolution that can be seen coming down the pike from miles away. The resulting frustration is all the more vexing for how much of Glass verges upon greatness; Shyamalan has an uncanny sense for how to build up tension, and Glass’s callousness, David’s feats of strength and the viciousness of The Beast (Kevin’s most brutal and least human personality) are terrifying and thrilling in turn."
Michael Rougeau, GameSpot: "Glass isn't the movie it should have been. There are hints of it early on, before the film takes a left turn and spends the rest of its stay focusing on all the wrong things. Like most of Shyamalan's movies, Glass is well directed and scored, and there are moments of brilliance and tension throughout. But when the twist is literally that the climax won't actually be as exciting as you've been led to believe, it's impossible not to feel disappointed."
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: "That playful air of the unexpected is mostly missing from Glass. We’ve been here before, now there’s just more of it. Yes, it’s easy to be impressed by the world that Shyamalan has created and now fleshed out, but it would be nice if we were also moved to feel something too. In the end, Glass is more half empty than half full."
Directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan, Glass is slated for release on Jan. 18. The film stars James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Beast, Bruce Willis as David Dunn, Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass and Sarah Paulson as Ellie Staple.