The films central focus is on the dynamic between the two lead characters Ward and Jakoby. Jakoby, the orc, is the first non-human police officer in the LAPD and finds himself placed with a reluctant Ward. Ward at first tries to have Jakoby removed from his car after facing immense pressure from the rest of the force but as the two partners face adversity in life and death situations, they begin to form a bond through mutual respect and eventually become friends. There is some pretty good chemistry between the two lead actors, with Edgerton’s Jakoby reminding me a little of Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy
series. His dry sense of humor, awkwardness and blunt way of speaking to Ward adds some comedic elements that help break up the tension between the two partners. Likewise, Will Smith is great as a straightforward LAPD officer, and his star power helps elevate the film as a whole. I found myself wondering if I would have been as interested in this film had Smith not been involved. While Edgerton’s performance isn’t poor by any means, it’s Smith that carries this film. David Ayer has a history of creating compelling relationships between partners, as seen in his previous works such as Training Day
and End of Watch
fits in right alongside his oeuvre of law enforcement films.
On the other hand, Bright’s story — which revolves around keeping the aforementioned wand out of the hands of those who crave its power for evil purposes — is a bit of a mixed bag. While I enjoyed the concept of a forgotten ancient artifact that could grant you anything you’ve ever wanted and destroy anyone who opposes you, I would have liked to have seen it put to use a little more. Aside from a few scenes where it’s used as a weapon to incinerate foes, we only get a tease of the wand’s magical powers when it’s used to bring someone back to life. The story also wraps up kind of abruptly and was for the most part unsatisfying. The coming of the “Dark Lord” is referenced throughout the film and the build up to his appearance is so protracted, I found myself checking my watch around the 90 minute mark and wondering how they were possibly going to wrap this all up within the 117 minute run time. Unfortunately, that resolution never really comes, resulting in a film that feels unfinished, unsatisfying, and devoid of a proper villain.
Despite the film’s shortcomings and disappointing ending, Bright features an interesting universe and setting, as well as a great performance from one of the world’s biggest stars in Will Smith. With the success of films like Mudbound and the scale of Bright’s production, Netflix is on the path to becoming a movie-making powerhouse that can stand alongside the best of them.
Despite the film’s shortcomings, Bright features an amazing universe in an interesting setting as well as a great performance from one of the world's biggest stars in Will Smith.