Will Smith’s rebound
Suicide Squad won an Oscar on Sunday—2017 is the Year of Nonsense—but despite acquiring some award polish, that movie didn’t really work out the way anyone wanted. Sure, it made money on paper, but no one likes it and time isn’t going to revise that one upward. Even its director, David “We Made This For The Fans” Ayer, admits to some buyer’s remorse. But while there will inevitably be a Suicide Squad 2—because The Machine can never stop turning—in the meantime, everyone has to try to move on as best they can.
For Will Smith, that includes re-teaming with Ayer for a movie written by Max Landis. You probably know Landis best as the guy who can’t stop sh*tting on movies starring women, but once upon a time he was known primarily for being John Landis’s son, and also the writer of such films as Chronicle, American Ultra, and Victor Frankenstein. His new screenplay, directed by Ayer and brought to you by Netflix, is called Bright, and it’s about an alternate reality—dimension?—where orcs and fairies live amongst humans. So basically it’s True Blood but with the LAPD.
The first teaser has been released, giving us a look at Smith as a sword-wielding LAPD officer, and Noomi Rapace as some kind of elf or fairy, and I don’t know where Joel Edgerton is, unless he’s the buck-toothed troll. This looks…interesting, to say the least. I am kind of into Will Smith at his wit’s end, dealing with a bunch of weird sh*t. Despite his douchebag ways, I quite like Landis as a writer. He goes for high-concept genre mash-ups, and if you can get a filmmaker to commit to his premise, you can get good movies out of him (see also: Chronicle). And Ayer, despite miscalculating pretty much everything about Suicide Squad, is REALLY good at cop movies—he made End of Watch, and the underrated Street Kings.
At the same time, I can certainly see why the studios passed and Bright ended up at Netflix. Landis and Ayer have both stubbed their toes recently, and Will Smith isn’t having a ton of luck outside of franchises. Between that trio’s shaky reputation and the high-concept fantasy elements, Bright has BIG RISK stamped all over it. But for Netflix it offers A-lister appeal courtesy Smith, and they’re putting it out in December, so it will be your at-home option to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Once everyone has spent their money on that, they’ll be looking for stuff to watch at home, and everyone knows Will Smith, guaranteeing Bright’s visibility. The question is whether or not Bright will be any good. For Will Smith’s sake, I hope so.