Gather ‘round, kids. I’m so old that I remember going to see The Sixth Sense AND Unbreakable in the theater. I’m so old that I remember thinking, after seeing The Sixth Sense, that M. Night Shyamalan was the next big director, that he would have a career like Steven Spielberg. If anything, Unbreakable solidified that for me – I actually thought (and still think) that Unbreakable is the superior film. Unfortunately, post-Unbreakable, Shyamalan spent much of the following 17 years or so making not-great films and writing flat-out bad scripts. That all sort of changed when he made Split in 2016. The headlines were along the lines of “wow, M. Night still has some good work left in him” and “finally, he’s back to his old form.”
One of the things that made Split work is that it was an undercover sequel to Unbreakable. It was part of the same “universe,” as people discovered at the end. That universe includes “superhero” David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and villain Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson). Split’s multiple-personality’d villain, played by James McAvoy, exists in the same world. And Shyamalan’s next film underlines that point by putting the three characters in the same film, dealing with each other in what seems like an insane asylum. The trailer for Glass just dropped at Comic Con and it looks… good? Plus, Sarah Paulson is in it!!
I am… really into this. Am I crazy for being into this? You have to understand, Unbreakable came out before comic-book film adaptations took over the movie industry, really. I mean, the Batman franchise was happening, but this was before Marvel and DC really decided to take over. I had high hopes that Unbreakable would signal a more intellectual way to handle the ideas behind comic book tropes and all of that. That didn’t happen. But now? I’m into this. Elijah Price is arguably one of Samuel L. Jackson’s best roles. Bruce Willis is here, reminding us that he actually IS a good actor when he has good material. And James… well, James is the scene-stealer. I’m very interested to see how all of this plays out.
Photos courtesy of Getty.