The Meaning Of All Of Glass' Superhero Deaths
The final battle at Glass' ending between The Overseer and The Beast ends in meticulous tragedy for all involved. Each hero dies in a way fitting of their comic origin, with a loved one there to help them pass on.
First, Mr. Glass is beaten up by The Beast after learning of his role in Clarence W. Crumb's death. Elijah then collapses to the ground, breaking even more of his brittle bones and slowly bleeding out in the company of his mother (Charlayne Woodard). Mr. Glass was a person of immense intellect with a major physical disability who thus viewed himself as a background mastermind; that the osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease that has put him in immense pain since birth, is the root cause of his death is almost inevitable, but as he's the "bad guy" of this story, it's interesting that the killing blow comes hubristically from a flaw in his plan and Kevin's past being revealed too early. There is, nevertheless, a catharsis in his death; he repeats a line from the end of Unbreakable about proving he's "not a mistake", something that gets its full payoff at the very end of Glass (something we'll come to later).
Then, Kevin is shot by a sniper. The original personality is brought into the light by Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), whose compassion for The Horde has over the movie been shown to have a calming effect. Casey's overriding care for her former captor may come across from Glass on its own as Stockholm syndrome, but it's more rooted in their shared recognition of a tortured past; Casey was sexually abused by her uncle, Kevin repeatedly assaulted by his mother. However, while this gives them both clarity - Dennis expresses regret and even The Beast admits it doesn't want to exist - it also directly leads to Kevin's death; had he been in his Beast form when shot, his stronger skin would have deflected the bullet. This was The Horde's weakness, but one Kevin accepts as he's finally able to achieve peace.
Finally, David Dunn is drowned by one of the on-site enforcers. His showdown with The Beast in an attempt to stop Elijah's proposed terrorist attack ended in the hospital's water tank (installed as a security measure against him), with him fighting against his debilitating, self-decreed kryptonite to break out. While that may see him overcome his weakness - and the memories of being nearly drowned as a child - it's undone when he's dragged to a deep puddle and drowned; Joseph Dunn (Spencer Treat Clark) tries to stop the soldier but its too late. Dunn's death is certainly the most tragic; it's one that is entirely preventable, goes against him overcoming his weakness, and ultimately provides no resolution to his arc.
David was the hero and yet got an entirely ignominious death, while the villains had their tragic arcs touchingly resolved, which is part of a bigger point made by Glass' ending; each one of these deaths is a resolution on its own terms, but its together where the real meaning comes in. The world doesn't accept these superpowered beings and as a result, they can't survive; they are destined to live troubled lives and only find purpose in their own deaths - and even that's not guaranteed. As the three-part death scene ends, the only people who even acknowledge them are the those closest to each character.
Page 3 of 4: The Clover Secret Society In Glass
- Glass (2019) release date: Jan 18, 2019