“Bright” is directed by David Ayer and stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, and Noomi Rapace. The film is a Netflix original about a world where Orcs, Elves, and other mythical species live in modern society with humans, and in this world, a human cop is forced to team up with an Orc, and together they must protect a certain item that could destroy the world as they know it.
David Ayer broke my heart in half with the abomination that is “Suicide Squad,” but I don’t totally put the blame on him for that debacle. The premise of this movie was beyond strange and I truly did not know how to feel about it, but Netflix put a ton of money into this project and already green-lit a sequel, so I came in hoping for the best, but truly not knowing what to expect.
Will Smith and Joel Edgerton are both very good in this movie, and easily stand out amongst the rest of the characters. Smith does what he does best by being a charismatic cop with an attitude that you can’t help but like, and Edgerton often shines alongside Smith as the first Orc police offer, and I thought Edgerton brought a solid amount of emotion and uniqueness to the character aside from his look.
There is a lot to enjoy in terms of simply how out there and original the concept is. The premise itself often creates some very cool moments of themes and character developments that worked fairly well, especially with Edgerton’s character. There are clearly issues of race lying under the surface of this movie, and when these are handled well in the movie, and not when they are being shoved down our throat, I thought this idea was a very smart one, and one that made the concept work better than expected.
The problem with the idea of this movie is not in the idea, but within the execution. Sadly, “Bright” is a mess, and a mess with a lot of ruined potential. This film piles in every idea imaginable while trying to be a relatively brisk action movie that is constantly moving, but while also trying to be deep and dramatic, and sadly, it all feels like just too much, and it left me confused and annoyed more than it left me enthralled.
As I said before, the racial undertones could have been a really strong idea, but they often felt poorly executed, whether it be way too on the nose in the opening act, and then almost completely forgotten about in the second half of the film. The movie had a habit of leaving old characters, ideas, and themes in the dust after getting into the action, and it left the movie, plus its’ completely unique ideas, feeling run of the mill.
David Ayer is much more to blame for the troubles this movie has then his rushed debauchery of “Suicide Squad,” because this is a poorly-directed movie. The plot never comes together nearly as well as it should, and it left all of its ideals and all of its suspense to only be imagined. I truly didn’t know what was going on a lot of the time, and it took a really weak explanation of the plot by Edgerton’s character at the end of the movie to even begin to fully understand it, which was one of the laziest plot devices I have ever seen. There are cool scenes, cool moments, and cool character aspects, but they never feel cohesive or well-developed at all, and Ayer must be at fault for that, though the script by Max Landis could certainly have been stronger.
The action isn’t necessarily terrible, but it could have been way better. Action scenes in this movie consistently rely on too many jump cuts and were poorly lit, and it took away from potentially amazing fights between these different species. Also, there is way too much reliance on slow motion, and the film ruins easily the coolest scene of the film, which was something by Smith’s character, by putting a really shitty X Ambassadors song mid-scene that feels incredibly out of place and completely ruins the moment.
There are some weak performances in the movie, from Edgar Ramírez’s underdeveloped character to Noomi Rapace’s underdeveloped and weirdly-performed effort, the two leads are the only real strong turns. However, Ike Barinholtz, who I loved in the “Neighbors” movies, is absolutely dreadful as one of the cops. He so overcooks his performance, and it became painful to watch, even in his limited screen time.
“Bright” has all the originality in the world to be good, and it is led by two terrific actors, but the direction, the script, and the mere execution of it all is a borderline disaster. It’s hard to completely hate something so new, but I was pretty bored by the lack of drama, the lack of proper storytelling, and by the lack of strong themes that were promised in the first act. I can see the appeal, but “Bright” was thoroughly disappointing for me simply on how much of a mess it was. David Ayer has fallen from grace since “End of Watch” and “Fury,” and Will Smith desperately needs to hire a new agent.
What did you think of “Bright”? Comment below with your thoughts.