I said in all my reviews of The Upside last week, that despite the Kevin Hart controversy, the movie would make a killing at the box office. And it did. With this movie, it’s going to make a killing at the box office, despite all the early reviews being negative.
As far as trilogies go, I thought of the perfect analogy — this is their Godfather 3. M. Night Shyamalan is Sofia Coppola.
What makes it all so bad is that in my opinion, Unbreakable is one of the most underrated films ever made. Now, Split was merely an okay movie, with an outstanding performance by James McAvoy.
So Shyamalan takes all these characters and throws them together. He claims he’s waited 19 years to do this. He told us that in Unbreakable, he edited out the character with multiple personalities that became Split. Well, that may be, but he really stretches things to try and have them all connect. It all becomes an uneven, disjointed mess.
The movie starts with the “Overseer” (Bruce Willis) running a security business with his son, and fighting crime at night. The police are after this vigilante, perhaps because they saw what he was doing in Death Wish last year (little joke there).
Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) is now calling his multiple personalities “The Horde” and they have a new group of teenager cheerleaders captured and chained up. The Overseer tries to rescue them, a fight ensues and…[NO SPOILERS ARE IN THIS ENTIRE REVIEW]…this ends up with the gang all being reunited in a mental institution. That’s not giving anything away, as they show that in the trailers, and on the terrific movie poster. Instead of Nurse Ratched telling them they can’t watch the World Series, this doctor (Sarah Paulson) just keeps trying to convince them they’re not superheroes (and it leads to a few flaws at the end of the movie, that I can’t explain without giving anything away).
Speaking of Nurse Ratched, the medication time seems to have Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) sitting in a wheelchair, with a twitchy eye and mouth (he did this same move, to better effect, in Kiss of Death…after he was shot in the face and suffered migraines). I’m guessing that 56.9% of Jackson’s screen time, has him in a wheelchair not saying/doing anything.
I won’t tell you anything else about what happens, but you can use your imagination. It’s not like these three characters are going to sit around the psych ward playing checkers, or Bruce Willis drooling on himself like he did in 12 Monkeys. They’ll find a way to wreak havoc.
There are some side characters we’ve seen in the previous movies, that feel forced in the attempts to humanize these characters. Sure, it was nice to see Anna Taylor-Joy (Split), but that’s just because it reminds me of the joy she brought me in Thoroughbreds. In this, nothing her character did made sense. So much of the movie didn’t make sense. For example, I was wondering why the son didn’t prove to the psychiatrist that his dad was a superhero, but letting her see him lift a barbell with a thousand pounds. Yet right after I thought that, they show him reminiscing about the time his dad did that. Okay, so…why isn’t he trying to talk to the doc about it? Surely he realizes that claiming he’s a crime fighter that has a “feeling” about certain people, after he gets a “feel” from them, wasn’t going to get him out. I also wondered why lawyers weren’t called. Surely some legal representation would’ve helped get him out of the hospital.
So much of the dialogue is poorly written exposition stuff. And, the explanations of comic book theory are ridiculous. The comic book fans, who would be the biggest supporters of a film like this, will feel it’s condescending. They don’t need Mr. Glass explaining, “This is an original story.”
Now, there is a line he says right before “the beast” first attacks that is funny. Unfortunately, many of the other jokes just don’t land.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have a blast watching McAvoy go through these personalities. When we see one coming and his face and body clench up, it reminded me of how scary and fun it was when I was in 8th grade watching David turn into a werewolf in An American Werewolf in London. And not only do we see his Patricia and Hedwig characters again, we get a few more.
The movie also has some inconsistencies with its source material.
Many of the things in this made me think of better movies. One weird thing was the score by James Newton Howard (who has done a lot of Shyamalan pictures). Not only is it overused, a few times it sounds exactly like the jazz piece that was used in If Beale Street Could Talk.
The movie was a little over two hours, and this story could’ve been tighter and better. There was a great cast, and a decent story lurking underneath this mess.
I loved Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense so much, someone bought me a T-shirt at the time that said “I See Dumb People.”
Well, Us Weekly critic Mara Reinstein wrote something in her review that reminded me of that, and fits perfectly: “I See Disappointed People.”
1 ½ stars out of 5.