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If you haven't seen M. Night Shyamalan's Glass yet, don't shatter the ending for yourself. This article is packed with SPOILERS, so come back after you've seen the movie!
Leave it up to M. Night Shyamalan to offer up this twist: He's been crafting a trilogy for Unbreakable all this time! After he pulled one of the most iconic movie surprises of all time in 1999's The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan produced his comic book themed drama about the sole survivor of a trainwreck, David Dunn (Bruce Willis) who finds out he has superpowers. In the process, he discovers the villain to his hero, Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), who has been orchestrating violent accidents to prove his theory that comic books are based on reality.
Audiences found out the story of Unbreakable wasn't over when they reached the end of Shyamalan's comeback hit Split in 2016. The psychological thriller introduced a villain with multiple personalities -- one of which a terrifying "beast" -- who kidnaps three teenaged girls to feed them to it. The conclusion revealed Split to be a villain origin story, as David Dunn appeared to connect the movies together.
With Glass, the three main characters established in Unbreakable and Split have crossed to create a trilogy finale, including a signature Shyamalan twist. Let's recap what happened and discuss the conclusion that was 19 years in the making:
Heroes And Villains
Much of Glass has David Dunn, Kevin Wendell Crumb and Mr. Glass in a high-security hospital and being treated by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) for their belief that they are superheroes and it starts to test their realities. But everything shakes up when Mr. Glass slides past the nurses and cameras to visit Kevin's Horde of personalities and team up with him/them to break out.
The villainous pair manages to make it out with the help of Kevin's most destructive personality, the Beast. Then, Mr. Glass calls upon David to use his super strength to break out as well, enticing him with their plan to wreak havoc on the grand opening of a new skyscraper on Philadelphia's skyline if he doesn't, showing the world that comic book heroes are real. Of course, our hero cannot resist, so he breaks out too and goes head-to-head with the Beast.
With the Beast unleashed, he looks unstoppable until David's son Joseph, Mr. Glass' mom and Casey (from Split) all show up on the scene. Game changer! Joseph confronts the Beast with this reveal per his research: Kevin's father was on the same train David survived 19 years ago. Since Mr. Glass orchestrated the train accident, he is responsible for the death of Kevin's father, and -- indirectly -- his tragic life of abuse at the hands of his evil mother.
Mr. Glass tries to recover from the startling information by explaining that he helped create the Beast, so he should be thanking him. The Beast does this, but says he is first and foremost a protector of Kevin, so he shatters some of Mr. Glass' frail bones.
What at first seemed to be the start of a superhero showdown is disrupted by Dr. Ellie's mysterious team of gun-toting soldiers who start to intervene. David Dunn's is forced into his a puddle of water, his only weakness, and Ellie asks Casey to coarse Kevin out of the Beast to stop him from hurting anyone else -- all while she reveals the first of two twists in Glass.
Amidst David's murder, Ellie reveals that she does believe them to have superpowers. Instead, she and some secret organization have committed to taking down all powerful beings, to bring a continued balance to society. Every time a hero appears, so does a villain to oppose them, and if nothing is done about them, the world would be in chaos. David dies. Elijah succumbs to his injuries. And when the Beast switches to Kevin, a member of Ellie's team takes the shot and kills him, as well.
With each of the main characters now dead, Shyamalan includes shots of Ellie speaking to a group of people, likely a part of her anti-hero and villain society, to report what went down. She was never who she said she was, after all. Her plan to get rid of David and Kevin's powers by convincing them to not believe in them failed. She was forced to just take them out, using her soldiers.
However, Ellie underestimated the "mastermind" power of Mr. Glass. He used the many cameras in the high-security hospital to record each of the heroes' powers, and saved a copy to show the world after their deaths. It was a suicide mission all along, and Mr. Glass got exactly what he wanted.
What The Ending Means
Glass ends with Mr. Glass' mom receiving the tapes with evidence of David Dunn and Kevin's powers, which soon make their way to the internet and the subject of breaking news stories on television. Mr. Glass has spent his whole life believing comic books are historical artifacts of past events, and now he can rest easy in the grave knowing the whole world knows it because of his master plan.
Just as Unbreakable was a superhero origin story for David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Split was a villain origin story for Kevin (James McAvoy), Glass is Samuel L. Jackson's own origin story, with some major implications as a result of his actions.
As introduced in Unbreakable, David Dunn obtains his powers when he was almost drowned as a kid and believed he could be "unbreakable." His belief gave him the strength to be incredible. For Kevin, he was abused as a child, creating his multiple personalities to protect himself from the abuse, ultimately creating the Beast as his power.
Dr. Ellie was attempting to get into their heads and make them believe their abilities were all in their subconscious. If they ultimately don't believe, they won't have powers, right? Now since the whole world can start believing the contents of comic books are real, Mr. Glass has theoretically created a tangible world of heroes and villains.
The ending to Glass provides the realization of Jackson's character from the beginning. First he needed to find a hero to his villain, which he found in David Dunn in Unbreakable. Because Mr. Glass can only be the mind, he needed brute strength to truly oppose David so his powers could be showcased to the world. Elijah found that muscle through Split's origin story and his team up with the Beast. His stint in the hospital with David and Kevin is how his plan is executed, and his passionate truth is released upon the world.
What do you think of the ending of Glass? Was it a good conclusion to the trilogy? What questions do you still have regarding what happened? Drop them into the comments down below and let's keep the conversation flowing!