Kevin Wendell Crumb, or more specifically the Horde within him, are up to their old tricks again – kidnapping and chaining up four cheerleaders in a disused warehouse, subjecting them to the impressive and unsettling array of characters so brilliantly introduced to us in Split. Meanwhile, David Dunn runs a security company with his son, venturing out on walks to try and get a sense of any bad guys out on the streets, continuing the work he began in Unbreakable. Delivering justice in his hooded poncho, he’s earned himself many names but social media seem to have settled on ‘The Overseer’. He’s keen to find and save the cheerleaders and following a brush with their captor on a nearby street, manages to discover their location with the help of his son, who provides help and direction over an earpiece. He sets them free, just as The Beast returns. A fight breaks out and Glass gets off to an impressive start, finally bringing together two distinct parts of a movie universe that’s been very slowly built over the last 19 years.
But their fight is cut short by Dr Ellie Staple, a psychiatrist specialising in people who believe they are superheroes. She’s brought with her a team of heavily armed soldiers who capture both men and take them to the hospital where Dr Staple works, Raven Hill Memorial. Mr Glass is already being held in the hospital, slumped in a wheelchair – motionless and with just the occasional facial tic to show that he’s still alive. Is he faking it? Spoiler alert: yes he is, but then I’m sure you knew that anyway!
With Kevin and David both trapped in specially designed cells, preventing any outbursts of strength or transformations into violent personalities, the movie immediately slows in pace while Dr Ellie sets about evaluating them, trying to prove that they’re delusional in their beliefs regarding their abilities. It’s another chance for James McAvoy to shine, showcasing 20 of the 24 personalities within him, while David Dunn takes a bit of a backseat, brooding in his cell for the most part. Meanwhile, Mr Glass is quietly masterminding something bigger than anyone can imagine. Pretty much the remainder of the movie is set within the confines of the hospital – a tricky juggling act combining the slow burn mystery of Unbreakable with the thrilling horror of Split, which for the most part I found to be enjoyable, entertaining and at times thrilling. The problems began for me when Mr Glass begins executing his big plan, and all three break free from their cells. This latter part of the movie is full of tension and repeatedly builds towards something that it never manages to fully deliver on, ultimately resulting in disappointment. It kind of just fizzles out, with a few twists and turns along the way that are nowhere near as impressive or inventive as previous M Night Shyamalan offerings. And while I fully appreciate and understand what he was aiming for with regards to the ending, it just didn’t quite work for me at all. A bit of an anticlimax to what was a very strong and promising start to the concluding chapter of the trilogy.