Glass – a Conversation Between Heroism and Anti-Heroism

Media by: Shubin Ma

After the trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s third superhero thriller Glass was released at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), how the film would continue to follow the timeline of Unbreakable and Split and the relationship between the three main characters, Mr. Glass, The Beast and David Dunn in the sequel had become a puzzle for fans to ponder.

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Glass is the sequel to the 2016 movie Split. In Split, Kevin, a schizophrenic, is divided into 23 personality types, each with distinct personality expressions. Among these personalities are designer Barry, conservative religious woman Patricia, obsessive-compulsive disorder Dennis, and even a nine-year-old boy. However, he actually hides a supernatural personality, The Beast.

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Split itself is a sequel to the 2000 movie Unbreakable. In this movie, the main character Elijah Price was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare bone disease. As a result, his bones are so stunted by nature that he is extremely fragile and is unable to live a normal life. Encouraged by his mother and comics, he believed that God made a man with a purpose and set out on a quest to find his life’s meaning: find a comic book superhero. Later, he found the superhero as well as another main character, David Dunn. Dunn was a football star with an infinite future, but he lost it because of a car accident. To make matters worse, he also lost his normal life with his wife a few years later because he lost his passion in life. The train accident only left him confused as to why he was unharmed and led to the intersection with Elijah.

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Glass starts from the end of the movie Split and connects the movie Unbreakable.  In a chain of events, Elijah, who now goes by Mr. Glass, found that David was tracing Kevin’s Beast personality. As the situation escalated gradually, the true features of Mr. Glass also surfaced. A series of battles took place between them which were so serious that they were all arrested and thrown into a mental hospital. The head doctor of the mental hospital, Dr. Ellie Staple, was in charge of treating them. One night, Mr. Glass escaped to awaken The Beast and let him fight David. Due to the big battle, they all escaped from the mental hospital. Mr. Glass had been using The Beast to accomplish his goal, but he discovered the truth and began to attack Mr. Glass as well. During the whole process, Staple had been chasing the three superheroes all the time and killed them in the end. With Mr. Glass, Kevin and David dead, the story of these three superheroes is winding down, but the story of the world’s superheroes is still in progress.

Glass is a concrete dialogue of the two extremes ideas, heroism (Mr. Glass, The Beast, and David Dunn) and anti-heroism (Dr. Staple’s mysterious team). Mr. Glass, The Beast, and David Dunn are “heroes” who create heroes, “miracles” who create miracles, and “gods” who interpret the thoughts of God. However, Dr. Staple’s mysterious team carries out the suppression, pacification, and genocide of superhuman heroes and villains to protect modern civilization from the tyranny of “God” over “man” as they feared. They use various dark and irrational means to balance society. This way of covering up the latent social unrest by means of modification and machine dominance just reflects the fact that people are always afraid of things different from themselves.

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Overall, these three movies are not about the wonderful and brilliant story of superheroes, but rather about the lonely journey of the supervillains against themselves. In addition, Glass seems to be more of a sequel to Split than Unbreakable and it shows the importance of superheroes. The twist ending of Glass lets Mr. Glass’ original terrifying plan produce a hopeful and warm result. It not only reveals the existence of superhumans to the world but also proclaims that everyone can be exceptional. Do not let others try to hide your identity. The body may grow weak, but the mind and faith can grow strong. Be true to yourself and you will be a true hero.

Media by Shubin Ma.


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