A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Glass is the third part of an intense trilogy that writer/director M. Night Shyamalan began with 2000's Unbreakable and continued in 2017's Split. The storyline focuses on the existence of super-beings and what that might actually mean for the world. Expect strong violence, with lots of fighting, punching, smashing, slamming, and crushing. Characters are killed via throat-slashing, drowning, bullets, and more. After defeating a foe, a character takes a big bite out of him (viewers hear chewing and swallowing and see blood on his mouth). Characters are in peril for brief periods throughout the film, and there's some discussion of children being abused by adults. Kissing is mentioned, but otherwise sex isn't an issue. Language is infrequent but includes uses of "s--t," "ass," "bitch," and "p---y." The movie has its flaws, but it's surprisingly satisfying, and fans will likely get a kick out of it. Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, and Samuel L. Jackson star.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In GLASS, the mysterious kidnapper with dissociative identity disorder from Split (James McAvoy) is still on the loose -- and has newly kidnapped four teen cheerleaders. David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the superhero from Unbreakable, finds them and has a showdown with "the Beast," aka the kidnapper's most dangerous personality. They're both caught and sent to a facility where Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) is determined to convince them that they -- along with Dunn's old rival, Elijah, aka "Mr. Glass" (Samuel L. Jackson) -- aren't superior beings. Meanwhile, the kidnapper's former victim, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), goes to see him and discovers a connection to his "original" personality, Kevin. But even though Mr. Glass appears to be heavily sedated, there's a plan afoot.
Is it any good?
Depending on how ready you are to embrace (or forgive) M. Night Shyamalan's nerdy, talky, intertwined comic book mythos, this trilogy closer is surprisingly enjoyable on many levels. Following Shyamalan's Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2017), Glass nicely ties everything together, and while the conclusion may not be up to the level of The Sixth Sense (what is?), the director has still created a satisfying mini-universe on its own terms. The movie's philosophizing about comic books doesn't go very deep -- it's more about how comics relate to reality than it is about the mystery of their wide appeal -- but it's certainly relevant and interesting.
As the movie goes on, explanations drag a little too long, but the real trick lies in three secondary characters: Kevin's former kidnap victim, Casey; David's son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark); and Mr. Glass's mother (Charlayne Woodard). The way these three view their respective super-beings underscores just how important the extraordinary and the spectacular are to all of us in our everyday lives. As always, Shyamalan's directorial technique is clean, and his shots are well-staged and well-chosen. But few would argue that anything in Glass is more amazing than McAvoy's performance; the actor embodies his character's various personalities in vivid, emotional moments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Glass's violence. What makes it feel so intense? How much is shown/not shown? Was the effect thrilling or shocking? What's the difference? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Is there any truth to comic books, historically? What's their appeal?
Is the Overseer character -- who tries to use his powers for good -- a role model? Why or why not?
The movie's antagonists are trying to rid the world of all super-beings (both good and evil) and keep "order." Do you agree with their motives? Why or why not?
How does this movie compare with its predecessors? Does the full story make a satisfying arc? If so, how? If not, then why not?
- In theaters: January 18, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: April 16, 2019
- Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy
- Director: M. Night Shyamalan
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 129 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence including some bloody images, thematic elements, and language
- Last updated: November 8, 2020
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