The Will Smith Fantasy Movie On Netflix That Will Leave You Begging For A Sequel

By Robert Scucci | Updated

Will Smith in Bright

Every so often we see an A-list actor take on a unique role and give it their all, only for it to be critically panned. But in the case of Will Smith’s Bright, a 26 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the scarlet letter that one would think it to be when we consider the 83 percent audience score it received.

Will Smith’s Bright is streaming on Netflix right now.

What’s more, despite its lackluster reviews on the critical front, Bright is also one of Netflix‘s most streamed movies ever, and you can watch it right now.

Bright is an urban fantasy action film that follows the usual beats found in a buddy cop movie like Lethal Weapon, or Rush Hour. But this film stands on its own by being set in an alternate present that’s populated by humans and mythical creatures like orcs and elves. In many ways, Bright is familiar territory for Will Smith, who is currently working on the fourth installment of the Bad Boys Franchise.

will smith bright
Joel Edgerton and Will Smith

Will Smith portrays an LAPD officer named Daryl Ward, who is involuntarily partnered with Joel Edgerton’s Nick Jacoby, the nation’s first orc police officer. Right out the gate, it’s evident that they have an apprehensive relationship that stems from a robbery gone wrong in which Ward was shot by an orc robber, an incident that leads him to believe that Jakoby deliberately let the assailant go.

Though Internal Affairs has reason to investigate Jakoby, they remain partners throughout the duration of the film, and as the formula dictates, they eventually put their differences aside for the greater good of humanity.

Despite Bright’s ambition, critics couldn’t help but wince at the delivery and execution of this Will Smith movie.

The plot for Bright revolves around Ward and Jacoby’s encounter with a young elf girl named Tikka. It’s revealed that Tikka used to be a member of a radical elf sect called the Inferni. But she left the group and was sheltered by the Shield of Light, an extremist group who warns of the return of the “Dark Lord.”

The primary source of tension in this Will Smith movie comes in the form of the ownership of this magic wand, and the power it wields.

Tikka being protected in Bright

We soon learn of another Inferni elf named Leilah, who is seeking control of the wand because it is instrumental in resurrecting the Dark Lord who was defeated thousands of years ago. It’s through this exposition that we’re met with some tried-and-true Will Smith one-liners that elicit laughter, and make us forget that we’re living in a fantasy world for a minute.

One notable example of Ward and Jacoby’s bickering comes through during a high-speed chase in which Ward loudly proclaims to his partner that “We’re not in a prophecy … we’re in a stolen Toyota Corolla!”

Despite Bright’s ambition, critics couldn’t help but wince at the delivery and execution of this Will Smith movie. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave Bright a 1.5 out of 4-star rating, and referred to the film as “a tired buddy-cop movie dressed up in bizarre trappings.” Other critics felt similarly, stating that Bright was a great idea, but failed to deliver the goods despite its potential.

will smith bright

But still, viewers enjoyed Bright even though it took a beating on the critical front. It is worth noting, however, that the general consensus is that this is one of Will Smith’s more contrived roles. In other words, we’ve all seen the buddy-cop storyline play out so many times over the years, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad movie.

Even Reed Hastings, Netflix’s executive chairman, has acknowledged the disconnect between critical and audience reception, stating that critics are “pretty disconnected from the commercial prospects of a film.” And when you look at the Nielsen ratings, it’s hard to say that the 11 million viewers who watched Bright within the first three days of its release are wrong.

Simply put, audiences know what they like, and while this may not be the best Will Smith movie out there, it does offer a refreshing take on a genre that has been tired for quite some time.

The Bright sequel was scrapped after the Will Smith Oscar’s controversy

In fact, Bright was well enough received by audiences to get green-lit for a sequel, and was intended to go into production in 2019. Production was allegedly delayed due to Will Smith’s busy schedule, but was picked up once again in 2020 with Louis Leterrier entering negotiations to direct it.

The sequel was ultimately scrapped after the controversy surrounding Will Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock at the Academy Awards, and as things currently stand, there have been no further talks of a Bright sequel being further developed.

Though we may never see a sequel to 2017’s Bright, you can stream it in all of its glory on Netflix, and we strongly recommend that you ignore the critics, and listen to your heart.