Set of two films the tone of superhero movies in the 21st century, which determines the way in which the public in the 2020s would see and perceive heroism. of Christopher Nolan Batman starts and Jon Favreau Iron Man Ask, in essence, the same question: What would it take to become a superhero in the “real world”?
While the two films differ in tone, they offer similar ideas. A superhero starts rich, goes through trials and tribulations, overcomes his fears stemming from these trials and fully accepts a new identity. “As a symbol, I can be incorruptible,” says Bruce Wayne. Tony Stark says it more bluntly: “I’m the Iron Man.”
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But before Nolan and Favreau, a very different vision of a “real world” superhero emerged. While M. Night Shyamalan’s film from 2000, Unbreakableshares some items with Batman starts and Iron Man, what stands out more than two decades later are its differences. Instead of editing an existing comic book property, Shyamalan creates his own, making a custom idea of comics.
The film begins with a title card that explains how obsessive comic book fans can be. It is important to remember that popular perceptions of the comic book industry were very different in 2000 than they are today. Marvel had just escaped bankruptcy in the 1990s and was caught in a series of long-running legal disputes. The biggest area of development seemed to be the Saturday morning cartoons, which gave the comics a childish feel.
Although no one catches the eye these days if an adult invests emotionally WandaVision the Batman, Shyamalan uses the opening text of the film to make one point: People take comics very, very seriously. The film goes on to give birth, with one mother wondering if her baby is supposed to be crying so much. It is not, a doctor tells her, informing her that she did break bones during the birth process.
The film then goes to David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a staunch opponent of Tony Stark. Dunn is not rich. works as a field guard. He is not a playboy or a loner, but he is in a simple marriage that is falling apart. He lives in Philadelphia but is ready for work in New York and returns home by train when he is met by the public. But then, after an awkward flirtation, the train crashes in an impressively horrible way. Shyamalan wisely does not show the crash, saving the horror for Dunn’s son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) who is watching on TV.
The crash kills everyone except Dunn, who survives without a scratch. In a wonderful and heartbreaking sequence, Shyamalan shows Dunn coming out of the hospital, passing dozens of mourning family members looking at him with a sense of dread and jealousy, and then passing a swarm of cameras flashing in his face.
David tries to get his life and marriage back, but a note left in his car stays in his mind: Can he remember the last time he was sick? Neither can Audrey’s wife (Robin Wright) or his boss. He decides to look for answers and determine who sent the note.
On the other side he finds Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), the baby with broken arms. He has grown up and runs the Limited Edition, a comic book store by appointment, where he refuses to sell to children. He tells David and Joseph about his life with imperfect type 1 osteogenesis, which led to more than 50 broken bones and a hard childhood nickname, Glass. His illness led him to believe that he was in a range. It is on the one hand. On the other hand he would be a person whose body cannot be broken.
David is at least skeptical. But he can not deny the facts of his life and Elijah encourages him to explore the idea that he is a superman. He resists, but Joseph is on board. In a scary scene that is one of the best in Willis’ career, Joseph pulls a gun on David. Convinced of Elijah’s theories, Joseph believes that the sphere will bounce off him immediately. Desperate to get the gun out of his son, David hides his disbelief by saying that although this may be the case, if Joseph pulls the trigger, he will take the job in New York and leave him forever. It is a stretched rope of emotional vulnerability and manipulation that Willis walks perfectly.
Elijah has more than he can see, and Shyamalan offers a slow burn as Dunn slowly accepts his powers. Unbreakable it remains a fascinating exploration of heroism, evil and what happens when comics begin to look a lot like the real world.
Unbreakable is now available on Amazon Prime.