While over 18 years separated from Unbreakable’s release, you can see why 2019’s Glass is considered a long time coming.
M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan
Good If You Like
Comic Book Movies
Good vs. Evil
Hero Origin Stories
Samuel L. Jackson
Spencer Treat Clark
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At about 39 years of age, Elijah Pierce, aka Mr. Glass, has lived his life surrounded by comic books. It was one of the main things his mom would use to coax him to venture out into the world. Something which was quite dangerous for he has Type 1 Osteogenesis Perfecta. A disease which has led to him breaking his bones 54+ times. But this film isn’t about living with an incredibly rare disorder; it is about Elijah meeting David.
Who is David? Well, even David had a hard time answering that question. He can say he is a father, a husband, and he works security for a college stadium. Yet, whether David could say what he does, the decisions he made based on the options chosen are what he is? Well, that is far more complicated. But, thanks to a chance encounter with Elijah, including an unfortunate accident, David discovers who he is and so does Elijah during that journey.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
Where is Elijah’s daddy?
How did David gain his abilities?
What triggered David and Audrey having marital issues? Was it just David not getting to become a football star?
It Holds Up 18 Years Later
With Glass only weeks away, it made sense to check out the original film to fully understand the possible conclusion of the Eastrail 177 Trilogy. But, whenever you have to venture back, especially more than a decade, there is always this fear that things will look and feel dated. If not you left questioning the hype.
That isn’t the case with Unbreakable at all. Even with the way Marvel has dominated my knowledge and understanding of how a superhero origin story can be, Unbreakable stands out. I’m talking beyond Deadpool or even Logan. What we get in Unbreakable reminds you why, despite a few iffy films after 2002’s Signs
, Shyamalan is considered a legendary auteur.
For what we get from Elijah and David is something hard to imagine getting nowadays. First off, it’s original. Inspired by the lore of comics, granted, but even with its nod to the greats, such as Batman and Joker, the hat tip never becomes a bite. That is, a rip-off.
Plus, as an origin story, it is nice to see one not featuring someone who is a child, who is rich, highly intelligent, or anything like that. Yes, David and Elijah are special but what could be considered superhuman isn’t overplayed. There is a sense of realism that has been lost due to the rise of CGI and VFX being allowed to compensate for the story.
The Build To The End
As noted, this is an origin story. One which ends with the kind of reveal that makes you question why it took 18 years for a sequel? But how can you follow up something like this? Especially considering Spider-man came out in 2002, Batman Begins in 2005, Ironman in 2008, and the unspoken requirements for superheroes becoming these big and grandeur productions.
But, what makes Unbreakable so good is that it doesn’t try to make itself into a franchise. It has since become a franchise, but it works as a standalone movie which, like Shyamalan’s classic mysteries, builds to this great climax and is done. No need for explanation or a sequel – you can be left satisfied. You got all the background you needed for a payoff.
On The Fence
You’re Barely Given A Reason To Give A Damn About David and Elijah’s Family Members
With that said, however, one failing of this movie is you may not give one damn about David or Elijah’s family members. David’s rocky marriage and the relationship with his kid? Eh, take it or leave it. His relationship with Audrey is necessary to flesh out why he is unsatisfied with his life, and his scenes with Joseph are adorable. However, they don’t make the movie.
Same goes for Elijah’s relationship with his mother, Mrs. Price. You recognize the character is needed as a device to support Elijah. However, once their role is fulfilled, she loses her main purpose. Leading to why, at least in the case of Audrey, we see one person from the original not in the sequel.
While David and Elijah’s family members aren’t developed to the point of feeling central for future iterations, they are but a small blemish on what has to be considered one of the best superhuman movies made. While it does have some conventional means of telling its story, even taking note of DC’s resurgence and all the Marvel Cinematic Universe has put out, this film – from 2000 – arguably tops most of them. Hence the positive label, and Unbreakable being recommended. What we get with Unbreakable hasn’t been seen since its release. Thus making the film a must see if you want to prep for Glass. If not desiring to watch a quality movie about superheroes which cares more about the story than a huge budget dedicated to special effects.