CAPTAIN CINEMAXX SEEN – GLASS * SPOILERS *
Unbreakable, Split, Glass, Mr. Night Shyamalan signs a trilogy out of time, out of the ordinary, which, whatever one thinks, will not look like any other in the History of the Cinema, even if it is not exempt from small defects. Revisiting the film of superheroes with Incassable, the psychological thriller with Split, Sixth Sense‘s filmmaker concludes, this year, his trilogy started 19 years ago, where the myth of the superhero will, once again, be challenged with the arrival of Dr. Ellie Staple, played by Sarah Paulson.
And while the press and the public seem unanimous to even consider Glass as a masterful production, a masterpiece, what is it really? Reply !
Color code and myth of the superhero
The major scene in Glass is undeniably the one where the three main protagonists, Elijah Price, Kevin Crumb and David Dunn are gathered in the same room, around Dr. Ellie Staple. A sequence of anthology, where she explains to her so-called exceptional beings that they are in fact only normal men, having aptitudes and / or beliefs that can be explained in a scientific way, in a rational way. But before focusing on his psychoanalytic reflection of superheroes, let’s analyze the staging and color codes of the decor.
We quickly move on the color code of the characters, we know since Unbreakable and Split.
– Purple for Elijah.
A color with three meanings. Violet is first hung up on melancholy and loneliness. Two feelings that characterize Elijah’s character since his birth. A color also associated with dreamers, spiritual characters, another character trait of Elijah, whose belief in superheroes is unshakeable.
Finally, purple is a soothing color, calm emotions, curbs anger and anxiety. And maybe that’s why Dr. Staple left him a purple-colored outfit, to keep controlling his host, manipulating him by manipulating his feelings.
– The green for David Dunn.
Green is an unstable color. In the Middle Ages, green represented Satan, the devil, the enemies of Christendom, supernatural beings, and even Death. Moreover, it is not trivial if in the first appearance of David in Glass, the latter is personified as such. We only see a shadow, without a face, an inhuman being, an avenging spirit. And there is only to see the faces of the two « criminals », where the fear is legible, a fear that we find only in the face of his Last Judgment.
Today, in Western culture, green is a color related to hope or luck. A perfect color for a vigilante therefore, since as a superhero, the one nicknamed The Supervisor is carrying a new hope, a new chance for the future. A contradiction with my previous paragraph nevertheless, there are good numbers of characters in the comics, where the heroes use violence and fear, but seen as symbols of hope, by the general public.
In India (country of origin of the director), the Patron of Travelers, Khidir, is dressed in green. At the beginning of Glass, we evoke « walks » that David strives to do every day to help his neighbor and hunt down the Beast. From there to saying that David Dunn is a saint, there is only one step.
Ironically, green is also associated with hospitals, color in their logo. Logic then, that the man in green finds himself in a psychiatric hospital no?
– The yellow for Kevin.
If Kevin refuses to light, the other personalities and the Beast welcomes him with pleasure. Symbol of power, the yellow has negative meanings such as treachery, deception, deception, as many adjectives that correspond to the multiple deceitful personalities of the characters embodied by James McAvoy.
In India, yellow is the color of immortality, so it is divine, associated with knowledge. And what is the Beast looking for? Knowledge, that of pain. It is not for nothing that his victims are « impure », they have never experienced significant tramas in their lives, while others, like Casey in Slipt, are spared.
The room where this meeting takes place is painted in pink. An unusual color in a psychiatric hospital. This choice is not trivial. For two reasons. The first is that the rose is a color whose property is to soothe emotions, to slide towards tenderness and sweetness. A good choice to put the characters at ease, in the face of a delicate situation, where tensions can arise quite quickly. Moreover, the dialogues are mostly serene, especially with the sweet and bewitching voice of Dr. Staple, who is there in a seduction operation, to convince of his psychoanalytic theories. And then, unlike the aggressiveness of the red, the rose opens up new perspectives in the field of friendship, airs a heavy situation, as is the case here, and pushes to let go, what would the Dr. Staple.
In short, she creates the favorable conditions for manipulating the emotions of her characters, making them doubt with a form of artistic sensuality and a seductive posture.
Let’s go back now to his remarks. For her, superheroes must not exist, because it is they who create chaos and disorder. A reflection not so insane. We always perceive superheroes as perfect beings, bringing hope and whose only concern is our security. Yet, whether in comics or movies, examples tend to prove the opposite.
Batman, for example, gives life to his nemesis (see Killing Joke), the Joker, and is therefore indirectly responsible for atrocities committed by the latter for several decades.
In Iron Man 3, if Tony Stark had not been so arrogant, he would never have, ten years later, been forced to confront Aldrich Killian and his unhealthy intentions.
Finally, in Arrow Season 3, there is also this thought made by Inspector Quentin Lance, who then tells Oliver that the massive influx of super-criminals in Star City is his fault. And it is true that Deathstroke would never have landed in town for revenge, if he had made the right choices on Lian Yu.
Examples, there are thousands of others. Does Superman worry for a moment about the victims and the damage done to Metropolis when he faces General Zod in Man of Steel? Thus Bruce Wayne (in Batman v Superman) and Dr. Staple (in Glass) come to the same conclusion, we must neutralize the « threat », before it does major damage, despite the good intentions, which seem to inhabit them.
Dr. Staple points out their own contradiction. Superheroes exist only to face their failures, those born of their arrogance, their beliefs or their own fears.
Regarding the sequence itself, this psychological intrusion is of a high quality, until we doubt the gifts of each of the « heroes » present. However, this intrusion to its limits since the following scene staged no doubt real characters on their abilities or beliefs (except Kevin, but it lasted the space of a tirade), then breaking the vagueness that would have allowed production to play more on the suspicion of their reality and the birth of a fiction, hatch of their imagination. And for us spectators, we would have continued to be led on a path strewn with uncertainties.
There is also a concern for control over this eight-closed.
Adapted eight-all closures, I found that it lacked panache, but especially a panting, poignant. The confinement sequences definitely do not have the stuffy, anxiety-provoking aspect that we can and must feel in this type of film. Thus, the psychological character wanted by Night Shyamalan is diminished and does not have the cerebral influence that it should have had on us.
Another point, to emphasize. To say that Elijah has a superior intelligence is an undeniable fact, not to explain the way he perceives his environment to escape at night for his night out, is to admit to the public that we are a little lazy about the edges or tell him he is not smart enough to understand. Unless it’s the director who has no idea how Elijah escapes from his cell after dark. A little disappointment, while the rest of Elijah’s plan is unveiled and brilliantly executed.
A mixed end
If two-thirds of Shyamalan’s film are quite mastered, the end is rather confused, sometimes disappointing.
If I loved the concept of the secret organization, whose goal is to remove superhumans to avoid, as mentioned previously, the conflict and chaos, and the plan Elijah Machiavellian, with this unexpected rebound to bring down this society and reveal to the world the heroes they deserve. If I was conquered by this conclusion, where none of the main protagonists survives, avoiding the cliché of the triumphant hero and the end in cliffhanger, to suggest that a sequel will be possible in the years to come. And while I appreciated that Shyamalan breaks the codes of the superhero movie by refraining from a final confrontation in the eyes of the general public, based on shattering explosions, I do have some reservations about the latter third.
The staging of the duel between David Dunn and the Beast is, for example, a little simplistic for my taste, lack of artistic ambition in its scenic composition and emotional scale. Indeed, this scene, supposed to be the high point of the saga, does not have the intensity of its stake, causing a kind of frustration, while we were sold an epic confrontation between the man and the Beast .
Finally, the interaction between the secondary and main characters is very messy. One excludes certain second knives of the image, because too troublesome then, come back when one needs them and that does not seem to me very orderly or clear in the scenic and scenaristic structure. I already hear on the networks that this end is a debate, but cinema is also that, sensations and various interpretations. And Night Shyamalan’s cinema is one of the few that never leaves indifferent or insensitive, the proof.
In conclusion, Glass is not the masterpiece announced, but far from being a bad film so far. Many qualities, an intelligent reflection on the mythology of the superheroes, a neat staging, a sensational James McAvoy and a Samuel L. Jackson imperturbable and enigmatic, far from the mediocre interpretations of recent years, to which he accustomed us with his annoying parody in Kingsman or his cheap villain cartoons in XxX or King Kong: Skull Island. Even Bruce Willis found here colors by taking on the role of David Dunn, after passages to the movies with G.I Joe, Red 2, Death Wish and so on.
On the other hand, an ebullient little panting and a sawtooth end.