Director: David Ayer
Stars: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Lucy Fry, Noomi Rapace, Edgar Ramirez
A critic’s take: Bright aims for the grittiness and “one crazy night” structure of the former, but wallows in the chest-thumping goofiness of the latter, not only by smearing some very expensive-looking CGI and makeup effects with a thick layer of grime but in its fixation on cartoonish graffiti, face tattoos, and Latino men calling each other “holmes.” - Katie Rife (AV Club)
Why it’s bad (meaning good): David Ayer has some sparkling notches on his resume. He wrote the screenplay for Training Day. He directed the incredibly slept on End of Watch. But since the calendar turned to 2016, the Illinois native has been stacking up Ls.
After his direction of Suicide Squad was widely panned by critics and audience members alike, Ayer attempted to rebound with Bright, a Netflix original touting Will Smith as its lead playing a Los Angeles police officer living in a world with orcs, elves, fairies and a pretty dope magic wand. Ayer swung and missed, so much so that the bat came all the way back around and ended up making contact anyway.
From one of the film’s earliest moments, which features Smith actually uttering the line “fairy lives don’t matter today” while the most stereotypical L.A. gang in movie history looks on from the neighboring yard, Bright remains so cringeworthy and nonsensical throughout that you can’t help but want to finish the whole thing (I guess that’s why we’re getting a Bright 2).
For a movie full of fantastical elements, some explanation of why humans and orcs despise each other, and what this huge war between them thousands of years ago was all about, would’ve been helpful. Alas, Ayer has no time for plot points. He’s far too busy forcing feeding you a laughably bad commentary on race.
So you won’t have any idea what’s going on, but there are orcs wearing FUBU jerseys. And isn’t that enough?