3/10 Almost 20 years ago, M. Night Shyamalan was forbidden from using the words “comic book” to describe his 2000 movie Unbreakable, about translating comic book tropes into a gritty real-world setting, fearing that the recent Batman movies would scare audiences away from such a film. Instead, Unbreakable was marketed as a mystery-thriller in the vein of Shyamalan’s recent smash hit, The Sixth Sense.
In the intervening time period, we’ve seen comic book adaptations swing back to prominence, then its most auspicious and format-specific tropes cross over to film, then more and more obscure gimmick characters swim and size-shift into the mainstream. We’ve even seen Batman himself adapted a gritty, real-world series that was so successful Warner Bros. has been seeking to recreate it precisely ever since.
Now, after Shyamalan’s own concurrent descent into obscurity and recent rise back to popularity, he has finally made Glass, the long-awaited sequel to Unbreakable which brings comic books’ most auspicious and format-specific tropes to the big screen. Where Unbreakable released into a world of such deep skepticism surrounding comic books’ widespread popularity that it wasn’t allowed to be marketed as a comic book movie, Glass releases into a world in which the San Diego Comic-Con, where its trailer debuted last year, rapidly became the largest pop-culture festival in the world as soon as Marvel started spooling up its cinematic universe 10 years ago.