Non-Spoiler Review: Don't believe the hate, Netflix's 'Bright' is fun as hell
It's a shame that Netflix's first big budget production Bright isn't being given more of a chance by critics, but I'm none too surprised.
It's a fun story set in an imaginative universe, expertly told by a risk-taking director in David Ayer. Here's a quick plot rundown.
In an alternate present where humans and fantasy creatures—Orcs, Fairies, Elves, Centaurs, Dwarves etc.—have co-existed since the beginning of time, human LAPD officer Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and Orc rookie officer Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) embark on a routine patrol night, only to discover an ancient—but powerful—artifact: a magic wand, that was thought to be destroyed, and encounter a darkness that will ultimately alter the future and their world as they know it.
A lot of the jimmies being rustled over Bright seem to center around its backdrop of prejudice, not only among races but also between the different magical species. Critics knew this premise going in and it seems most had their conclusions locked and loaded.
Bright is a wild couple of hours. It draws from a ton of different material but finds a way to stand on its own. You feel Ayer's gritty cop dynamics from his 2012 film End of Watch. There's the welcome, familiar dynamic of Will Smith working alongside a partner he's none too thrilled about a la Men in Black. We also get a few Alien Nation vibes thrown in there, too.
The film is wonderfully acted by an A+ cast with Edgerton out front the whole way. We're treated to the sarcastic, funny throwback Smith that made him a massive star in films like Independence Day. Noomi Rapace's mysterious villain is a bit underwritten but only leaves you wanting more.
My only real qualm with the film might be a lack of context. Ayer and screenwriter Max Landis created a fascinating backdrop but Bright makes constant references to fantastical rituals, groups and items without giving us much to work with. I've never played World of Warcraft but I know enough to get by. We hear over and over about how Edgerton's character will never be "blooded" but only sort of learn what that means at the conclusion. We're also asked to worry about a certain Dark Lord without any real understanding as to why. Hopefully that's explored further in the sequel.
Bright is a fun time and Netflix, Ayer and Landis should be commended for putting some major cash behind a new, unproven property. I think the gamble payed off.
(image via Netflix)