M. Night Shyamalan says his film Glass isn't trying to be like other modern superhero movies. Rather, the writer/director says he's approaching the Unbreakable and Split sequel as being a dramatic thriller that just happens to be about the idea of comic book characters.
The superhero movie landscape has certainly changed a lot since Shymalan released Unbreakable eighteen years ago. X-Men - one of the films credited for paving the way for the golden age of superhero movies - had only premiered in theaters a few months before Shymalan's own comic book-inspired project hit the scene. By the filmmaker unexpectedly returned to the Unbreakable universe with 2017's Split and thusly set the stage for Glass, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Films franchise were two of the biggest properties in Hollywood. However, that doesn't mean Shymalan is trying to emulate those series with his latest superhero offering.
Shymalan attended San Diego Comic-Con 2018 to promote Glass last week and Screen Rant got the chance to pick his brain about the film, while he was there. When asked how changes in the superhero movie landscape have affected his own approach to writing and directing Glass, Shymalan said that for the large part he's going about it the same way he did with Unbreakable, all those years ago:
Yeah for me, over the years there has been so much love for that movie Unbreakable and the tones and the way we made it. Which is very grounded and treating people like they were real. We were making a drama, with world class performances. So I did just approach it like that, that I was just making another thriller and it happens to be the subject of superheroes. So if I stay true to that, I think that combination is very intriguing. You know. I don't have a ton of CGI in the movie and its very contained. It's just leaning on the characters, leaning on these world class actors. Just leaning on them.
The Glass trailer (which premiered during the film's SDCC panel) supports what Shyamalan told us and portrays the film as being primarily a psychological thriller where Unbreakable's David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) get caught up in a cat-and-mouse game with Split's Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) and his 23 other personalities, including the superhuman Beast. Similarly, much of the Glass trailer footage is performance-driven by the film's stars, including female leads Sarah Paulson and Anya-Taylor Joy (who reprises her Split role as Casey Cooke). In fact, there are only glimpses of action and virtually no CGI in the preview at all.
Fans have already started to take notice of this and voice their appreciation for the way Glass is positioning itself as an anti-MCU superhero movie, in these respects. Of course, that isn't to say there's anything wrong with the modern big-budget comic book tentpoles that Marvel Studios and DC are churning out right now. On the contrary, their best films are so good that, frankly, it would have been more disconcerting if Shyamalan suggested he was trying to beat them at their own superhero game with Glass.
- Glass (2019) release date: Jan 18, 2019