Flashback Review: Unbreakable

After M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” earned critical acclaim from numerous critics and movie goers from across the globe, his newfound success, M. Night came up with an idea based on his love of superheroes about an interpretation of Superman’s origin story described as, “What if Clark Kent was never born on Krypton, but instead born on Earth & he discovers he is Superman?” Rather than bringing Superman on the silver screen, M. Night made up his own character named, David Dunn, a security guard with marriage issues, miraculously survives a train crash. He comes to the aid of a comic book theorist named, Elijah Price, who encourages him to use his newfound gifts. What I’m talking about is the plot from “Unbreakable.”

Unbreakable was released in November, 2000 four months after Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie came out. It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Plus, it managed to recoup its expenses at the box office. Unbreakable went on to gain a cult following among superhero fans. Quentin Tarantino praised M. Night Shyamalan’s “High Concept”/”What If Scenario” described as, “What if Clark Kent was born on Earth and didn’t know he is Superman?” M. Night himself declared that Unbreakable is his personal favorite film.

If you’ve already seen the previews for M. Night’s film titled, “Glass,” a stand-alone entry known as “Split” starring James McAvoy as a guy named Kevin Crumb, who suffers from a case of multiple personality disorder, abducts teenage girls. The captors must find a way to escape before all heck breaks loose.

Now that Glass is scheduled to open worldwide in January 18, with Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson & James McAvoy reprising their roles, I want to share my thoughts on what’s good or bad about Unbreakable before I see M. Night’s sequel nineteen years in the making.

The following review doesn’t have any very important SPOILERS. If you’ve never ever ever seen this movie, feel free to read my non-spoiler article. Is it one of M. Night Shyamalan’s best films? Well let’s find out shall we?

Mighty & Weak Aspects

Mighty: Bruce Willis & Samuel L. Jackson both did an outstanding for their respective performances as David Dunn & Elijah Price. Quentin Tarantino praised Bruce’s performance as the best one in his career.

Other Cast Members such as Robin Wright & Spencer Treat Clark both did a good job for their performances.

M. Night Shyamalan did a fantastic job writing the script and also produced & directed the movie. Plus he makes a cameo appearance.

Cinematography didn’t have any technical flaws whatsoever.

James Newton Howard composed music for the film.

Practical Effects were heavily used to display David’s abilities.

Costume Designs didn’t look way too silly. David’s green poncho & Elijah’s purple suit felt authentic.

Fun Fact: Sam’s favorite color is purple. He managed to persuade George Lucas to give Mace Windu a purple lightsaber in Attack Of The Clones.

Character Development involving David. He goes from a reluctant Everyman, to a extraordinary individual who will do anything to protect the innocent outside his profession as a security guard.

David Dunn’s initials are D.D. A reference to Stan Lee’s trademark of naming his characters using the same letter from the beginning of a first & last name including Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Matt Murdock etc.

The moral of the story is, “Learning to accept your newfound gifts, rather than brushing em’ off in disbelief.”

Before The Dark Knight Trilogy set a benchmark for realistic superheroes, M. Night constructed Jospeh Campbell’s myth “The Hero’s Journey” by translating a comic book origin story into a cohesive Three Act Structure in a realistic setting.

Don’t expect this to be a superhero film with epic battles, it’s basically a mystery thriller centering around David’s powers, his failed marriage & seeking advice from Elijah.

A Pause Worthy Moment of a comic book cover of “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is shown on display where Elijah works as an owner of a comic book art gallery. Sam allowed Marvel to lend his likeness as Nick Fury in Ultimate Marvel. Sam also played the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (MCU for short)

Both David & Elijah wear distinctive outfits based on their color motifs.

The two main characters each have a color motif reflecting a comic book character’s signature costume. David wears a green poncho referencing comic book heroes characters who are associated with the color green including Hulk, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, The Spectre & Martian Manhunter. Elijah wears a purple trench coat referencing supervillians who are associated with the color purple such as The Joker, Killgrave, Green Goblin, Galactus & Thanos.

Elijah’s childhood was interesting on why he’s a comic book fan.

Besides Elijah’s past, David’s was also interesting.

David’s failed marriage mirrors Bruce Willis’ separation from Demi Moore. They officially divorced a month before Unbreakable came out. I think Bruce accepted the role because his character is relatable to him.

Like every superhero, David has a specific flaw due to a traumatic memory. It factors in as a pivotal moment.

Similar to “The Lost Boys,” comic books are used as a plot device along with several superhero tropes mentioned.

If you’ve already seen Split, M. Night officially confirmed a popular theory of Kevin’s involvement in the first film, is now canon.

In every Shyamalan film, a Twist Ending shows up. This time it’s a legit one. I can’t tell you why, you’re gonna have to see for yourself. In my opinion, this is by far M. Night’s best Plot Twist. I’ll have to give him Bonus Points for making me gasp.

Weak: I couldn’t find anything wrong with this film. I’ll give M. Night an Extra Point for telling a cohesive narrative.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Unbreakable is one of M. Night’s decent movies and a precursor to realistic superhero films. It’s also my favorite film by M. Night. If you’re excited to see Glass, watch Unbreakable & Split first before you see David Dunn & Kevin Crumb’s epic battle. I cannot wait to see the sequel. I hope M. Night better not screw this up. The last time he screwed something up is “The Last Airbender.”

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