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Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: Glass

“The Kid Who Would Be King” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

There’s a child-like quality to director M. Night Shyamalan’s movies that make them stand out from the usual polished Hollywood fare. It’s as if he sees the world through the kindest, simplest, most innocent lens possible, only to be completely crushed that the subject matter at hand is so brutal and horrifying. His best movies, which include the two pre-cursors to “Glass,” 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” play off this dissonant dichotomy quite well. While I still think that “Split” was the most effective use of this contrast, which makes sense given its subject matter, “Glass” certainly holds its own.

“Glass” refers to Elijah Price, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Or, as he likes to be called: “First name Mister. Last name Glass.” Those who remember “Unbreakable” will no doubt remember Glass, whose bones are so fragile that the slightest touch causes them to break. This is in sharp contrast to David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who seems to have an indestructible constitution. This quality of Dunn’s comes in handy when battling The Beast, one of the many personalities of James McAvoy’s Kevin character. At one point The Beast grabs Dunn from behind and squeezes his chest. This would have crushed a normal man, but Dunn was able to resist the weight bearing down on him and not succumb.

A special note on McAvoy. He impressed me with his acting chops in “Split,” seamlessly transitioning voice and mannerisms to different personalities. These personalities are as varied as Hedwig, a forever nine-year-old boy, and Patricia, the gentle, grandmotherly matriarch who keeps the rest of Kevin’s personalities in line and protects Kevin (the true personality) at all costs. These personalities are back again in “Glass,” only there are more of them—ones we didn’t see in “Split”—and they shift more often. McAvoy dives head first into the role and plays it very straightforward, which is the best thing to do. Kevin, like many villains in comic books, is a tortured soul with a tragic past. McAvoy gives it his all to portray the torment of the character, and now that he has a handle on the different personalities involved with Kevin, he is able to give them more flair and nuance. I completely understand that this movie came out in January of this year and that this type of movie will be overlooked by Oscar anyway, but it’s a shame. If Hollywood had any dignity and truly cared about actors challenging themselves and turning in great performances, McAvoy would get the recognition he so richly deserves for absolutely nailing this role.

Dunn and The Beast’s tangle comes to an abrupt end when the two are surrounded by Philadelphia’s finest as well as Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a psychiatrist at a mental hospital. She already has Glass in her care, and has been keeping tabs on both Dunn and The Beast. She even has specially prepared rooms at the hospital built to exploit their weaknesses should they get out of line. Dunn’s has spray hoses attached to the walls and he will be sprayed with water—his weakness—if he gets out of line. Kevin gets flashed with bright light and forced to change personalities if he starts to get violent or abusive.

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The character of Glass is not in the movie much for the beginning, and for the scenes that he is in, he’s sitting in a wheelchair, completely catatonic. There is also a fair bit of the runtime of “Glass” spent with Staple as she psychoanalyzes the patients and tries to convince them that they’re not superhuman in any way. Psychologically breaking down superheroes in group sessions undermines the fantasy and fun of superheroes, but stick with it—the movie is going somewhere with the concept.

While it may take a while for the character of Glass to come to life and take action, after he does the movie takes off like a rocket and doesn’t let up until the end. This wouldn’t be an M. Night Shyamalan movie without gasp-inducing reveals and twists, and with “Glass,” M. Night out Shyamalan’s himself by not only having a fantastic reveal that connects all three of the main characters, but also has something in store for the greater plot as well.

“Glass” may lag a bit in scenes at the hospital, but reflecting back on the movie as a whole, it opens well and ends in a very satisfactory way. The movie is carefully crafted with genuinely clever twists that hold up to scrutiny and make sense. M. Night Shyamalan has pulled off a feat that few directors succeed at—if they even attempt it: He made a trilogy and went three for three. No matter what he has done in the past or will do in the future, this is a tremendous accomplishment that no one can ever take away. My hat is off to the man. Buy it, and if you don’t already own “Split” and “Unbreakable,” Buy them too or buy the Wal-Mart exclusive “M. Night Shyamalan's Eastrail 177 Trilogy.” However you get them, this is a trilogy worth owning for repeat viewings.

More New Releases: “The Kid Who Would Be King,” in which a band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace, starring Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, and Dean Chaumoo; and “Malibu Express” and “Hard Ticket to Hawaii,” two fun and frolicky low budget sex and action ‘80s movies from B-movie director Andy Sidaris.

Andrew Hudak is a lifelong film lover. His column on Blu-Ray new releases appears every Tuesday. He lives in Connecticut.