Ten years ago today, I started this blog with a (shamefully positive) review of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” so I’m marking the anniversary with the launch of an appropriate new series: Superhero Saturdays. Fittingly, I think this first selection is a good entry point and thesis statement for the genre of superhero films.
Glass,” now available for home viewing, is an excuse to spend more time in the universe of “Unbreakable” (2000) and “Split” (2017), and I like that universe, so I can’t complain too much. On the special edition DVD of “Unbreakable,” writer-director M. Night Shyamalan says he wrote a three-act story but decided to use only the first act for that film because Acts II and III didn’t engage him as much as David Dunn’s (Bruce Willis) superhero origin story.
Glass,” the trilogy topper we didn’t know we needed, is a unique animal. It’s hard for me to put a finger on how I feel about it, as it is a very unconventional superhero film, choosing to focus on narrative rather than CGI battles. Today’s cinema is dominated by Marvel and DC blockbusters (most recently the CGI fest “Aquaman”), but writer-director M. Night Shyamalan grounds us in reality by keeping everything just believable enough.
Propelled by can’t-look-away performances by James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy and meticulous writing and direction by M. Night Shyamalan, “Split” (which hit theaters in January and is now on HBO) was one of the year’s first great films. It’s buzzworthy for its closing surprise (more on that after the spoiler tag below), but it’s worth seeing in its own right for its sci-fi-tinged examination of split personalities.
“Wayward Pines” (8 p.m. Central Thursdays on Fox) starts off with the same eyeball-to-overhead-shot opening pan-out as “Lost” – with Matt Dillon in place of Matthew Fox — and the rest of the pilot episode could be an exercise in finding similarities to other shows.
It seems like I’m the last person who still gets excited about M. Night Shyamalan movies. But although movies from the auteur behind “Signs,” “The Village” and “The Happening” are screened to smaller audiences now, he still knows how to spin a good yarn and build suspense.