The importance of spaces within a superhero story is rarely seen: the base of operations, the villain's lair, the public space as the scenario of confrontation … And yet, the deepening in the symbolic charge of those spaces was a of the key issues in the revolution that lived the comic strips of the genre in the late 80's. Think, for example, the psychiatric institution: the Arkham Asylum of the DC universe, traditionally used as a disciplinary destination for the supervillains of Gotham City, but reformulated , in jobs like Arkham Asylum: a serious house in a serious land, by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean, or Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, of Frank Miller, as a territory of ambiguity where to raise the tenuous border that separates the superhero from the supervillain, two equally pathological figures.
Address: M. Night Shyamalan.
Interpreters: Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Sarah Paulson.
Gender: fantastic. United States, 2019.
Duration: 129 minutes
It is a fortunate decision that M. Night Shyamalan has chosen Pennsylvania's Allentown State Hospital as the primary setting for Glass, the film that, in principle, closes one of the most heterodox trilogies that has inspired the mythology of the superhero. Here, the filmmaker faced a radical change of rules: if the true nature of the story manifested itself as a surprise turn in both The protected (2000) -a hyperrealistic and depressive approach to the figure of the superhero- as in Multiple (2016) -aparent psychothriller that mutated in reflection on pain as the begetting force of the supervillain – here the starting point is already explicitly inscribed within the genre. Maybe that's why, Glass, unlike its predecessors, it is forced to apply a rigorous narrative logic and to expose its surprises – that there are – with obvious and perhaps foreseeable calculation.
However, Glass maintains strong kinship lines with other Shyamalan thematic obsessions: as in The forest (2004) and The young woman from the water (2006), here we talk about the construction of a narrative and the toxic or liberating effects that this story can have on its receiving public, which will end up being its captive audience or, also, its circle of initiates. The filmmaker, perhaps prey to the mythology he has built, makes the most consequential narrative decisions – that of the final climax scene is, thus, exemplary – but, as always, what shines the most is something else: the style, the fluidity of the camera through the spaces; in short, that firm and increasingly anomalous confidence in the power of the staging.