M. Night Shyamalan’s best movie is Unbreakable, which is why, after a lukewarm reception following The Sixth Sense in 2000, it has developed a considerable cult following. It came along just before comic book movies took over Hollywood, and it is so much like a comic book—the whole movie is framed to look like comic cells—that it put people off, initially. But then the nerds took over and Unbreakable became one of those low-key favorites everyone discovered after the fact. Which is why that surprise reveal at the end of Split was such a big deal—finally, Shyamalan is getting to make his Unbreakable sequel, a latent nerd-want for almost twenty years.
It’s called Glass and it unites James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson. The first trailer premiered Friday at Comic-Con, and it’s pretty good. “Good” here is relative because let’s not forget how very, very bad Shyamalan’s movies have been, but I am curious to see if Shyamalan can launch a homegrown superhero universe. The team behind John Wick managed it, so it can be done, but again, Shyamalan is fighting an uphill battle. No one trusts him, even after the relative successes of The Visit and Split, and that’s because those movies aren’t actually very good, they just FUNCTION, but Shyamalan’s filmmaking had gotten so bad we hadn’t seen a functioning film from him in a while.
I do dig the premise, though, as the characters are all in an institution, assumed to be delusional and not, in fact, superheroes, which is probably how it would go if people with unexplainable abilities started popping up. Sarah Paulson is their doctor, and I feel like she’s probably going to get eaten by the Beast at some point, because it NEVER works out in comic books for the doctors who attempt to contain supers (see also: Quinn, Harley). I also like that each character is a classic super archetype—David Dunn is a strongman, Mr. Glass is your mastermind, and the Beast is a monster a la the Hulk. Unbreakable works because it’s grounded in the mechanics of how superhero stories operate, and if Glass has the same grounding, it could be really cool.