Mr. Glass(pop culture)
Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) believes that comic-book heroes inhabit Earth in writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's thriller Unbreakable (2000). Philadelphia security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) walks away inscrutably unharmed from a catastrophic rail disaster, its sole survivor. Price, ridiculed as “Mr. Glass” due to a rare condition that makes his bones exceptionally brittle, hopes to find meaning for his lifelong torment. A comics-shop owner and avid collector, Price—slender, unsteady, and often surreally clad in purple leather—attempts to convince Dunn, who has never once been ill or injured, that he is a real-world superhero: “Now that we know who you are, I know who I am,” Price contends. “I'm not a mistake.” At first discounting Price's ludicrous theory, Dunn, a misfit whose marriage is troubled, soon finds a path to fulfillment as he, encouraged by his young son, undergoes weight training. Combining his strength and stamina with an intuition that warns him of wrongdoing—a scaled-down version of Spider- Man's spider-sense—he cloaks himself in a poncho and secretly becomes a street-level avenger. Dunn ultimately discovers the unthinkable (spoiler alert!): that Price, the obsessive Mr. Glass, engineered not only the train wreck from which Dunn survived but also a host of other accidents, simply to ferret out his paranormal counterpart. “You killed all those people,” Dunn gasps. “But I found you,” Price retorts. “So many sacrifices just to find you.” This climactic revelation from unexpected twist–master Shyamalan and Jackson's subtly seductive portrayal created the haunting “real-world” embodiment of the arch-foe archetype whose impact endures long after the closing credits.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.