After Marvel and DC movies have developed the idea of cinematic universes, the Indian-American director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Wayward Pines) has created his own, where Bruce Willis and James Mc Avoy are the stars. SPOILER.
In Unbreakable (2000), after a terrible train accident, the security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) discovers to be indestructible: nothing, except water, can hurt him. He becomes gradually aware of his condition thanks to his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) and, overall, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a man whose bones break so easily to have been nicknamed Mr. Glass. David, in the end, turns into a (super)hero in disguise who wears a raincoat (yes, a raincoat). A glimpse of the main character of Split can be seen in the stadium scene, when a bossy woman, holding hand with a boy, collides with David.
Split, released in 2016, deals with the raise of the (super)villain of M. Night Shyamalan’s universe. James McAvoy plays the role of Kevin Wendell Crumb, a young man who has developed 23 different personalities. To free the last one, The Beast, whose features goes beyond the known human nature, he kidnaps three girls, fated to satisfy the needs of the upcoming 24th personality. However, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), the outsider of the doomed group, will prove to be stronger and “different” than her companions, becoming a fair opponent to Kevin (or Dennis or Hedwig, or whatever).
Interesting is the way how M. Night Shyamalan deals with superheroes/supervillains issues, considering comic books as ambiguous proofs of their existence and introducing the idea that multiple personalities could lead to an unconscious development of “abilities”. Fascinating is the way the camera moves and how the frames are built, as well is peculiar the slow rhythm that distinguishes both film, even though Split manage to create much more anxiety and involvement than Unbreakable.
About the first film, I didn’t actually understand the choice of using captions to inform the audience about what happend next – I didn’t like this “true-events-movie” device for a superhero’s. Can’t deny I was expecting more from Split, even if James McAvoy gives an astonishing performance(s); amazing the opening, simple yet evoking. Between them, I preferred the last one, being more engaged in the story (will Casey manage to escape? What/who is The Beast?)
Eventually David Dunn and Kevin (or Dennis, or the Beasts, or whatever) will meet in Glass, that should be released in 2019. Anya Taylor-Joy and Samuel L. Jackson should return as well. Let’s wait and see how M. Night Shyamalan will come up with.