Review: Bright (2017) – A solid urban fantasy popcorn flick with one big problem

I’m going to go ahead and say that if you’re a fan of urban fantasy or a gamer, you’re going to like Bright, the Netflix exclusive movie starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, with one big caveat.  It’s a solid popcorn flick that’s good for hanging out and watching.

I really want to mention and recommend this movie because the critical reviews are panning it and because I think the trailers are kind of misleading.

Watching the trailers, you might think this is a funny Rush Hour style of buddy cop movie – and it’s not.  While Bright definitely has a lot of humor in it, there’s a pretty solid action story here that is the core of the movie.

There’s two things that I think are throwing critics and reviewers off. 

The first – and this is my big caveat – is definitely a flaw: the way Orcs are portrayed in Bright is a very heavy-handed analogy for race in America today, and it’s off-putting.  If – like some of the critics have decided – that this analogy is the point of the movie, then yeah, it’s bad.  I took a different take, and quickly decided to utterly ignore the analogy and simply accept it at face value as part of a parallel world.  Once I decided to just ignore that analogy – because again, it can get awfully heavy handed and obnoxious – it didn’t bother me any further.

The second thing that is throwing people off isn’t a flaw.  Our protagonists of Jakoby and Ward are really at the periphery of what’s going on.  They’re an important part, a critical part, but they aren’t the central part of what’s going on in the world of Bright, and that’s something important.

They’re two street cops who get caught up in things far bigger than themselves.  The overarching story (and the complexity of the world they’re in) began before them and definitely continues after them.

The feel reminds me of how Rogue One relates to the larger Star Wars canon… except in this case we haven’t already seen the bigger tale.

And I, for one, would love to see more of the world of Bright.

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