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The film opens as we see a baby being born in west Philadelphia. This is Elijah Price, later in the movie played by Samuel L Jackson. Elijah is so brittle that he is born with broken arms and legs. As he grows older, he is taunted at school and called Mr. Glass by his classmates since he is so fragile. As an adult, he runs a successful high priced comic book art gallery specializing in original drawings of super heroes.
Bruce Willis plays David Dunne. A security guard at the local college stadium. His marriage is crumbling and in fact, his wife, Robin Wright-Penn, sleeps downstairs in their son's room, and Bruce sleeps upstairs with his son.
On his way back home from a job interview in New York, Bruce's train malfunctions and derails, killing everyone on board except Bruce. He doesn't even have a scratch. After the memorial service for the crash victims, Bruce finds a note on his windshield. It's from a store named "Limited Editions" (Elijah's store) and the note asks, "Have you ever been sick?"
Bruce asks his boss and his wife but no one can ever remember him being sick. Bruce takes his son to "Limited Editions" where he meets Elijah.
Elijah explains his theory to Bruce...
If Elijah can be born with brittle bones and very easily hurt, shouldn't there be someone the exact opposite? Elijah has researched every disaster to find a sole survivor without a scratch but has had no luck. After years of searching, he finally has found one in Bruce Willis.
Bruce thinks it's interesting but really just thinks Elijah is nuts. Back at the stadium, Bruce gets a call that there is someone there trying to sneak in and asking for Bruce. It's Elijah and he starts explaining his comic book theories to Bruce. Theories about everyday men being super heroes, having powers they haven't yet realized and so on. Bruce bumps into a guy in line and tells the security at the end of the line to start frisking people. They watch as the guy Bruce bumped in to, sees everyone being frisked and leaves the line. Elijah asks Bruce what that was all about and Bruce told him that when he bumped him, he had an image of a certain kind of handgun.
Bruce goes back to work but Elijah follows the guy Bruce bumped into. They go down a long flight of stairs, Elijah falls shattering his leg but the last thing he sees is the man's handgun, just as Bruce described it. Elijah was right, Bruce does have some kind of special gift.
Back at home, Bruce is working out in the basement with his weight set. His son believed everything Elijah said about Bruce being a hero with a special gift. Bruce still doesn't believe. Bruce asks his son to take some weight off but without him knowing, he puts more weight on. Bruce lifts 250 lbs, the most he's ever done. His son continues putting on more weight until Bruce is now up to 350lbs. He has had all this strength all along that he never knew.
Elijah needs his leg rehabbed and his nurse is Robin Wright-Penn, Bruce's wife. Elijah asks her questions about her and Bruce and she explains to him how when they were going out, Bruce was a star football player but got in a car accident due to icy roads. Bruce never played football again. It was because of that, that she and Bruce were married. Had he continued to play, she knows they would have grown apart.
Back at work, Bruce gets a call from his son's school that his son has been hurt. His son had hoped that some of Bruce's super hero traits had rubbed off on him. He tried to protect someone that was being picked on and instead got hurt in the process. The school nurse remembers Bruce from when he was at that same school. In fact, it was because of Bruce that they have strict rules about the pool. It seems that Bruce had been picked on near the pool when he was a student there. He fell in and was left in the pool to drown. He was found at the bottom of the pool but somehow survived.
Bruce tells this story to Elijah, that in fact, Bruce can get hurt. Elijah tells him that every super hero has a weakness. Bruce's kryptonite is water. The water from the pool and the water from the icy roads.
Bruce's wife decides that him surviving the train crash is a sign that maybe they should give their marraige another try. They go out on a "date" and he explains to her that he felt their marraige was over when he stopped waking her up after he had a bad dream.
The next night, Bruce breaks into the train station and examines some of the wrecked trains. He starts recalling his own car crash from years earlier and remembers that he wasn't hurt at all. In fact, he had to use his superhuman strength to rescue Robin from the flaming vehicle.
He goes to Elijah and tells him he is right, he has never been sick or injured in any way. Elijah tells him that it's no coincidence that Bruce is in the security field. He needs to go to where people are and protect them.
It's a rainy day and Bruce, wearing a hooded rain poncho heads to Penn station. Hundreds of people are passing by. Whenever someone bumps into Bruce he has a vision of that person doing something evil. One is a jewel thief, another a rapist, but when the maintenance man bumps into him, Bruce gets a horrible vision. The vision is of the man going to someone's home and killing the homeowner.
Bruce still wearing the poncho but now it looks more and more like a super heroes cape, follows the guy as he leaves work. The guy goes to a nice house in a nice neighborhood. Bruce sneaks in the back and finds the dead homeowner inside. He goes upstairs and rescues two sisters tied up in their bathroom. He goes into another room and finds the mother tied up. The window is open and Bruce looks out. When he turns back around, there is the maintenance worker who pushes Bruce out the window. Bruce lands on the backyard pool that has its winter cover on. Suddenly, the cover starts collapsing with Bruce's weight and he gets all tangled up underwater with the cover. He is drowning again but the two sisters force a pole down to him and Bruce grabs it and is saved.
Bruce heads back upstairs and wrestles with the guy and finally kills him by breaking his neck.
The next scene is Bruce back at home, hanging up his cape, er um.. poncho, and carrying his sleeping wife upstairs to their bed. She wakes up and asks him what is wrong. "I had a bad dream" he says.
In the morning while having breakfast, Bruce slides the newspaper over to his son and holds a finger to his mouth to shush him. The headline tells of a mystery hero that saved the two girls. The picture is an artist's rendition of what the girls saw. It shows a superhero-like figure with a hood and cape. The boy looks up at his dad and Bruce just smiles and nods.
Bruce goes to Elijah's gallery where Elijah is having a huge gathering for a special show. He and Bruce go to Elijah's back office so they can discuss what had happened. Elijah has been in a wheelchair since his fall. He is real proud of Bruce and they shake hands.
Just like Christopher Walken in Stephen King's "The Dead Zone", while shaking hands, Bruce has a vision of Elijah setting a building on fire, another vision of Elijah causing a plane crash and finally, a vision of Elijah exiting the driving compartment of Bruce's train that crashed. Bruce looks around Elijahs office and is horrified at what he sees. Newspaper clippings of hundreds of disasters from around the world. Elijah is the mastermind behind all these events and has staged them for his own selfish benefit.
Just like in the comics, every evil villian needs a worthy adversary and Elijah has finally found his.
Bruce backs away in horror as Elijah, who in his wheelchair now looks more like Professor X of the X-men, proclaims...
"They call me Mr. Glass!"
Just before the final credits, a message appears that says that Bruce contacted the authorities and Elijah is now in a mental institution.
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