There are many comic book references in Unbreakable (the 2000 M. Night Shyamalan film).

As in comic books, the main characters have their identified color schemes. David's clothes are green, and he is wearing a dark green hooded rain poncho on his first night out. Elijah's clothes are purple (a favorite color of Samuel L. Jackson), a prominent color amongst super villains, especially in the 1960s and 1970s (cf. Lex Luthor, Joker, Catwoman). In a scene where Elijah appears as a young boy (the one in which he must leave his home and cross the street in order to obtain a present from his mother) he is shown wearing a peculiar pair of multicolored, striped pants, reminiscent of the sort of garb favored by many often flamboyantly dressed Super-Villains. The killer's janitor uniform is bright orange.

Generally, anyone seen in one of David's 'visions' is wearing a bright color - a rapist in luminous green (unlike the darker, forest and khaki green that David is linked to), a hate crime thug in bright yellow, a drug dealer in blue, a thief in red, and so forth.

  • David and Elijah are shown to be each other's opposite in many ways, including their contrasting skin color, hair, class status as well as their physical makeup. David is all but invincible, while Elijah is extremely brittle. They are opposite in nearly every way except their reaction to water, which can kill either. They are on the same spectrum, just at different ends.

As in many comic books, the hero's first and last names are alliterative (cf. Clark Kent, Bruce Banner, Scott Summers, Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, Reed Richards, Wally West, Susan Storm).

Other references:

  • When Joseph watches the television news report on the train wreck, the station logo (an encircled "4") vaguely resembles the logo for the Fantastic Four comic books.
  • The cover art for Elijah's first comic book is similar to that of Wolverine vs. Lobo.
  • The title of Elijah's first comic book is Active Comics, written in the style of Action Comics.
  • David's wearing his rain poncho draws visual parallels to a "Superhero" in a cape and hood.
  • Elijah describes how the artwork of a villain features a slightly enlarged head and eyes. Elijah's head appears slightly larger than normal because of his hairstyle.
  • The hero has an Achilles' heel-weakness (in David's case, water), like Superman being affected by Kryptonite.
  • The superhero and the villain were once friends before they became arch enemies (cf. Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom, Spider-Man and Harry Osborn, Professor X and Magneto, Batman and Two-Face, Superman and Lex Luthor)
  • A superhero speaks "basic English", a super villain speaks "learned (i.e., well-educated) English".
  • Elijah before his fall carries a glass cane, a reference to a supervillain's "signature item".
  • Elijah engages in numerous monologues; many of these reveal, in part, the violent plot he used to "discover" David.
  • Before facing the murderer, David tilts his head so that the poncho's hood casts a shadow over his face. This can be likened to a hero putting on his mask before fighting evil. The poncho also ceases to hide David's face when he is at risk of dying.
  • In a scene taking place in a small comic book shop, the clerk tells Elijah that he had better not be masturbating to Japanese hentai. In a movie about a distinctly American form of comics (the superhero), this scene makes a slight jab at another popular genre of graphic fiction.
  • One of the comics at Elijah's art show that we can clearly see is that of The Mighty Thor. Much like Elijah and David, Thor existed on two opposite sides of the spectrum. In his mortal identity of Donald Blake, Thor was frail and needed the use of a walking stick, but as Thor he possessed the power of an indestructible god.
  • The lead villain has a physical deformity, such as the scar on Dr. Doom's face, the Mole Man's mole-like appearance, or The Leader's enlarged head and green skin.
  • In the end, the hero, rather than take on his arch-enemy, instead leads the authorities to him, and he is incarcerated in a mental health facility. This occurs many times in comics, especially where the hero has defeated lesser enemies himself but declares that the courts will deal with his nemesis (e.g. The Joker, Lex Luthor).
  • David Dunn's powers
    • Strong immune system, although two incidents reveal his weakness, water (drowning, pneumonia).
    • His bones and tissues are "unbreakable", the exact opposite of Elijah's condition. He survives both a car crash and a train wreck "without a scratch", in the latter case as the only survivor.
    • He has a form of super strength, able to lift weights of at least 350 pounds (in a deleted scene, he was shown benching 500 pounds). In a flashback sequence, he is able to tear a car's door off its hinges. He has to exert himself, rather than effortlessly lifting incredible weights (as Superman does), but the weight-lifting scene reveals that his limit is many times what he thought it was.
    • He has the ability to tell if someone has done something bad if he comes in physical contact with him or her, a form of psychometry. This is explained in the film by Elijah as an extremely developed form of instinct.
  • Elijah Price's Weaknesses
    • The exact opposite of the "spectrum" from David Dunn, he has a specific weakness caused by his bone disease that makes him extremely susceptible to physical harm.
    • Elijah Price shares Dunn's vulnerability to water. Both characters swallow too quickly and choke easily when exposed to water.
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