Before superhero movies and shared universes became commonplace, M. Night Shyamalan was putting his own spin on comic book lore with 2000’s Unbreakable. And when 2016’s Split arrived in theaters, it’s twist ending revealed the two movies were set within the same universe. That made room for Shyamalan’s new release Glass, which saw the characters from both movies combine in an epic way.
Perhaps the biggest standout performance of Glass comes from James McAvoy, who played a ton of different characters throughout the film’s 129 minute runtime. Reprising his role as Kevin from Split, McAvoy has to physically and vocally find a ton of separate personalities, including fan favorite Hedwig– a nine-year old boy. Hedwig is a major fan of Drake in Glass, and the actor recently revealed the film originally including him singing to one of Drizzy Drake’s tracks, saying:
There was a moment I sang a little bit of Drake and there were some proper good moves in that bit. I was like ‘This is a really good bit. This is my dance bit but I’m singing Drake.’ I was like ‘Should we do a bit where I don’t sing Drake?’ because Drake’s not going to give us this song for nothing.
What a smart man. Because while seeing Hedwig spit some bars form Drake’s catalogue wold have made for a hilarious scene in Glass, it probably would have cost the indie superhero movie a big chunk of change. And considering that the blockbuster didn’t have the massive funds available to other crossover movies like The Avengers, Drake just wasn’t in the budget.
James McAvoy’s comments to MTV News make a great deal of sense, given Glass‘ budget and M. Night Shyamalan’s personal stakes in the movie. Shyamalan has been quietly been funding his past few releases, including The Visit, Split, and Glass. This is a system that seems to have been working, as each box office success fuels the next project on the director’s plate.
Funding his own movies allows M. Night Shyamalan to retain full creative control, unencumbered by the intentions of the studio or the powers that be. But that also means he had to be very purposeful about using Glass‘ budget, which was a modest $20 million. Action sequences were few and far between, with much of the film’s runtime set within Ellie Staple’s mysterious facility. And while Hedwig made a ton of references to Drake’s music throughout the film’s first two acts, James McAvoy had the right idea with filming takes that didn’t include him singing along to the rapper’s catalogue. And just like that, an extra sum of money was made available.
While Hedwig didn’t get to belt out any tunes during the course of Glass, he did have a major role in the overall narrative. The trio of personalities Hedwig, Patricia, and Dennis still had the most power within The Horde– convincing Kevin’s other personalities to join the cause and support the murderous super- powered Beast.
Hedwig in particular was given more agency, as he was able to steal “The Light” from the rest of Kevin’s personalities throughout the course of the movie. Whenever Ellie Staple or the other characters attempted to reason with The Horde, Hedwig would take over and return to Kevin’s consciousness. Furthermore, it’s Hedwig’s fault that David ended up coming to battle The Horde during the film’s first act.
When Glass opens, it’s revealed that The Horde has been mutilating more groups of young girls in the three weeks since Split ended. Hedwig bumped into David aka The Overseer on one of his “walks”, allowing the hero to see where The Horde had kidnapped a group of cheerleaders. It’s likely this scene that included James McAvoy’s planned Drake song, as the 6-year old personality was shown wearing headphones, mumbling along, and dancing during their brief interaction.
Since Glass arrived in theaters, it’s already had a fascinating tenure with moviegoers. When reviews hit the internet, moviegoers were disheartened when the film was almost universally panned. Luckily, audience didn’t have quite as many problems with M. Night Shyamalan’s ambitious crossover movie, with Glass currently at a strong 77% on Rotten Tomatoes‘ Audience Score.
Audience’s reaction to Glass can be seen in the film’s box office performance. The blockbuster just won its third weekend in a row, and has already made an impressive worldwide haul of $162 million. There’s more money to come, so it appears that poor reviews alone are not strong enough to sink Shyamalan.
The success of Glass is multi-tiered, as there are a handful of reasons why audiences have responded to well to M. Night Shyamalan’s latest journey of superheroes and mind-blowing twists. Obviously part of it comes with the combined success of Unbreakable and Split before it. Split was contained thriller when it arrived in 2016, but the final scene revealed it was set within the same world as Unbreakable— Shyamalan’s 2000 cult classic. The idea of combining these characters got audiences hyped, especially given the A-Listers that make up the cast.
Additionally, Glass and Unbreakable almost serve as anti-comic book movies. They focus on the humanity in the characters, and only use action and superpowers once in a while. Considering how bloated the superhero genre has become, M. Night Shyamalan’s unique trilogy helps to serve as a palette cleanser. And while not everyone liked Glass as much as the previous two movies, that hasn’t stopped folks from shelling out at movie theaters to judge for themselves.
It should be interesting to see what comes next for M. Night Shyamalan. With the Unbreakable trilogy finally in theaters, his decades of work and development have come to fruition. And since Glass is making so much money, there should presumably be plenty of money for the director to bankroll his next project. But what could it be?
Glass is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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