M. Night Shyamalan and the Necessary Shattered-Glass World

Guest Post by Jared Moore

[Glass has several things that may violate your conscience. Know your conscience. Be sure to look it up before you watch at Plugged In or Common Sense Media.]

*Additionally, if you want some very detailed interaction with Glass from a Christian worldview, check out the Glass episode of the Pop Culture Coram Deo Podcast (available on iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, TuneIn, Pod Bean, etc.).




M Night Shyamalan’s Glass caps the trilogy of the universe he presented in the prequels Unbreakable and Split. The movie is worth the price of admission and then some. Shyamalan has proven to be a great story-teller, and Glass is no exception.


Shyamalan loves to tell stories of heroes and heroines and villains, with a twist, of course; there’s always a Shyamalan-twist (sounds like a 60’s dance)! Whether it’s a child in The Sixth Sense or Detective Bowden in Devil, Shyamalan loves his good guys versus bad guys tropes. And we love him for it.


[Spoiler Alert: Spoilers follow! Read at your own peril]


The Good


At first, Glass is no different. The cast of characters is clear—David Dunn, the good guy, the Overseer, versus the bad guys, Elijah Price, Mr. Glass, and the Beast, leader of the Horde. The clear good and clear evil should be celebrated, for movies today love the murky middle.


Additionally, David Dunn’s character is good from the beginning of the movie to the end. He has this overwhelming desire to fight evil; if he knows of evil, he must fight it. He risks his life as needed for the sake of protecting the innocent and incarcerating evil people. He’s a good man with a clear moral conscience.


Furthermore, Casey Cook, the teenage girl who was kidnapped by the Beast in Split loves Kevin Wendell Crumb, the real identity of the Beast. She is willing to risk her life in order to protect Kevin from his other personalities, and it is her love that brings Kevin to the light and keeps the Beast tucked away in darkness. Her love for him was so strong, that near the end of the movie, I was wondering if she had reached Kevin sooner, could the Beast have been kept in darkness forever? Unconditional love truly transforms evil people; image-bearers know this, long for this; and Christ’s church lives this reality.


The Idol and False Gospel, and the True Gospel


But later in the movie, the morality gets wishy-washy. All of a sudden, Mr. Glass, the serial-killing mad-man, becomes the hero. For the great evil in this movie is no longer the serial-murderers, Mr. Glass or the Beast, but Dr. Ellie Staple and the underground organization she represents. What’s this group’s great evil? They want to keep people from reaching their full special potential, to keep them from self-actualization, regardless if these people use their special abilities to do good or evil. Granted, this is evil, but only because heroes are killed alongside the villains.


Christians will agree that evil people should be kept from reaching their full potential to do evil. “Just do you” is not a mantra we want to tell serial-killers or rapists. I think most people, whether Christian or not, would agree. But no, Shyamalan says, “Wait a minute! In order for good to exist, there must be evil.” Thus, at the end of the movie, we have the good guys and bad guys holding hands as they fulfill Mr. Glass’ master plan to self-actualize the world; not merely creating, as Mr. Glass said, the “origin story” for supernatural heroes but creating the origin story for supernatural villains as well. You heard that right; the group holds hands knowing full well that they will create supernatural serial killers in addition to supernatural heroes.


Shyamalan’s idol presented in Glass is that evil and good are eternal and must be held in balance, from eternal past to eternal future. You cannot have one without the other. Therefore, to create the greatest good, we must create the greatest evil. In order to see the most-powerful good, we must also see the most-powerful evil. The better world that Shyamalan hopes for is the world with the most powerful people doing the most good possible, but in his worldview, it also means his better world is a world with the most powerful people doing the most evil possible. That’s not a better world or a glorified creation! This simply means that how balanced in good and evil the world is today is the best it can possibly get!


But God begs to differ. Shyamalan’s better world always has evil, but God’s better world does not. The story God is telling in cosmic history is that you and I are evil. We have sinned against God (Rom. 3:23). We are the greatest evil in the world because we are God’s image bearers, and when we should have mirrored God, we fell short, sinned, and committed evil. Yet, God has looked upon us with compassion, sending His Son to live the life He required us, to die the death we deserve, then to conquer death by rising from the dead, and promising to take all those sinners who repent and believe in Him to an eternal glorified New Heaves and New Earth forevermore (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 6:23).


Through Christ, God is creating a world of former Beasts and Glasses, spiritually resurrecting those dead in sin, giving them new hearts, and finally bringing them to the best world possible, a New Heavens and New Earth, where perfect love and justice reign for all eternity. And those who refuse to trust in Christ are sent to Hell forevermore. In this way, evil is eradicated from the New Heaves and New Earth for all eternity.




In conclusion, when at the end of the movie, Shyamalan’s Glass breaks and the shards cut and slice, who will pick up the pieces and fix creation? Not Shyamalan, not the worldview he presents, and definitely not Mr. Glass, but the God-Man Christ Jesus.


That’s why I turn to the Bible everyday and turn to Shyamalan here and there. He is an image-bearer and a good story-teller, but he lacks the tools necessary to discern what is wrong with the world and how to fix it. Only the omni-benevolent (all good) God can provide the foundation of good, the definition of evil, and bring us to the glorified creation that all human hearts long for.


We do not look to evil to learn what good is; we look to God! And we do not look in the shattered-Glass mirror to find glorified creation; we look to Jesus alone!


Only Jesus Christ can bring the better world. And He has brought it to His church, is bringing it to His church, and will bring it to His church soon!



Sat, 02/02/2019 - 11:53 -- john_hendryx

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