Synopsis: At least three of Kevin Wendel Crumb’s personalities ally in the belief of a coming powerful personality, and kidnap young girls to feed it.
• James McAvoy brilliantly portrays several characters, visibly changing between them in real time with little to no special makeup or effects.
• Perhaps the first true supervillain origin story. Many origin stories portray the emerging villain in tandem, but there were no heroes in this film, only a survivor.
• Easily the darkest and least predictable film Shyamalan ever made.
• Overcomes the origin story and sequel narrative problems by focussing on the emerging supervillain, who wins.
• Though unlikely the intention, the film tended to further the stigma against those with mental disorders.
• Can feel a bit small-scale next to today’s superhero films.
• Might be a bit too dark for some.
Rejoice, for the broken are more evolved!
Psychological problems were a major element of the first film in the trilogy, Unbreakable (2000). David Dunn (the Unbreakable) was in a deepening depression he did not fully understand, until he met the mass-murdering Elijah Price (Mr. Glass). That DNA has become a major element of current superhero franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially since Age of Ultron (2015). “With great power, comes great mental instability,” is at the tortured heart of Jessica Jones (2015-present). Now, of course, those with mental disorders are not necessarily dangerous in any way. That might be the one failing of the otherwise unique Split: there is no strong counterbalance to the darkness of the Horde within Crumb and the Beast they worship. That might also suggest why villains are normally emerged in tandem with the hero, and why Split is so dark. In the end, that might be the realism at the heart of the film. Sometimes there will be no hero to save us, and all we can do is fight to survive …
Eastrail 177 Trilogy
Rotten Tomatoes — 76%