“Glass” the Movie, & the Psychology of ‘Stripped-Down’ Superheroes Movies.

Joseth Moore·Monday, January 21, 2019

Ok, the Monday after “Glass” movie’s release so I can do my review now. And of course, for those who’ve not yet seen it, SPOILER disclaimer here…As I’ve recently learned–and perhaps some of the Readers–M. Night Shyamalan’s two other movies, “Unbreakable” and “Split,” are all three part of a three-part series (Split, though I’d seen it, was a surprise for me). Here are the respective links if one needs reminding, thanks to Wikipedia: Unbreakable > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unbreakable_(film) , and Split > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_(2016_American_film) .

As I’ve mentioned in my “Logan” movie review (my other movie reviews’ links found below), Shyamalan’s entire series is of the Strip-Down sub-genre–no flashy superhero-abilities such as the ability of flight, nor time-skipping, nor anything approaching pyrotechnical such as Marvel’s character’s Storm and DC’s Superman’s wide-range of suite of powers that he has (flight, x-ray vision, laser-eyes, etc). Think, more like DC’s Batman–a superhero who does not have any meta-abilities; just damned disciplined in action and/or well-stocked with tools… But Shyamalan’s characters in Glass, it was even more fundamental–even existential!–than Batman or Logan. In those movies, getting a bit Fourth-Wall here, the audience knew the premise was that Batman and Logan were superheroes and that the storytelling was either non-meta in approach (Batman), or Strip-Down in sub-genre (Logan/Wolverine). In Glass, we have good ol’ Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychologist gathering up our three antagonists-protagonists; having built a career on bursting the bubble-idea that certain clients had of them being superheroes! At least, from our protagonists’ point of view…

Mr. Glass (Elijah Price–Samuel L Jackson); was he really a master-mind super-villain or was he simply a really smart dude with osteogenesis imperfecta who had a bit more time on hand, sitting in his wheelchair, and therefore had time to scheme plots through and justify his perceived puppet-mastery of murderer(s)? Dr. Staple sure made him question his own biography!

And what about David Dunn (Bruce Willis)? A security guard for sporting events that, what; has some power to detect other people’s past and/or secrets (Psychometry) by touching them? On top of that, even though he may be well-intentioned to intervene while innocent citizens are being harassed or worse, perhaps he’s just a vigilante that builds his own stories about others based on what he sees about them and unlawfully acts with violence?

Then there’s poor Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy–whom, by the way, has done one of the best psychological-characters in the movies since Anthony Hopkins in the “Silence of The Lambs” series!)… Basically a boy that was very physically abused by his mother and grew up with what’s known as dissociative identity disorder; having 23 “personalities” stuffed into his young life. He’d, eventually, kidnapped young women and held them captive and falls in love with one of the girls–Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy). So, did Crumb really turn into a monster (“the Beast”), when he was able to climb walls and flip cars on the side, or was he simply a split-personality patient that ended up being influenced by the evil mind of another patient–Mr. Glass; whom eventually would be key to all three of our anti-heroes getting out of the institution, but, also, would eventually lead them into the hands of a secret society that actively works against both superheroes and meta-villains!

And, those sub-plots–the questioning of the reality of meta-humans and the society of humans that wars against them–are the two main reasons why I really enjoyed Glass!

Stripped-Down style is not as simple as it seems, speaking as a SciFi author myself. One has to balance real science and other conventional paradigms while writing creatively enough to, yet, make the audience/readers question what Reality is…even in Fiction. I say M. Night Shyamalan (whom written and directed Glass), all the actors/actresses, and the rest of the crew balanced this storytelling and the sub-genre of Stripped-Down with excellence!

*You can read my original Facebook post HERE >> https://www.facebook.com/notes/joseth-moore/glass-the-movie-the-psychology-of-stripped-down-superheroes-movies/2027408887342461/

— “Batman v Superman”: My Defense… >> https://www.facebook.com/notes/joseth-moore/batman-v-superman-my-defense/956735834409777/

— “Logan” Movie: My Take… >> https://www.facebook.com/notes/joseth-moore/logan-movie-my-take/1227656930650998/

— BLADE RUNNER 2049: Blog-Review, Tech, Society, & the Singularity… >> https://www.facebook.com/notes/joseth-moore/blade-runner-2049-blog-review-tech-society-the-singularity/1452598904823465/

[] Wikipedia, Google-searches.

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