Can David Ayers Redeem Himself with “Bright” Sequel?

During the first week of January, Netflix gave the go-ahead to start work on a sequel to “Bright.” This cop-meets-middle-earth-fantasy was the streaming service’s most expensive film to date—costing an impressive 90-million-dollars. It was also heralded as one of the worst films of 2017.

The movie reunited actor Will Smith with director David Ayers. The two worked together in 2016 to create “Suicide Squad,” a super villain redemption story that ignited a feeding frenzy for the snarkiest critics.

These same critics smelled blood again with the release of the Netflix original, and wasted no time devouring Ayer’s newest efforts.
According to Brian Lowry of CNN, “Bright is a bloated, expensive mess, a Netflix movie with blockbuster aspirations and faerie-sized brains.”

Devan Coggan of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D+ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, saying, “[The film] Bills itself as part buddy-cop movie, part lavish fantasy, does neither justice, resulting in lazy nonsense that’s too silly to be good and too self-serious to be any fun.”

In spite of the scathing feedback, “Bright” had attracted a record setting 11-million-viewers within the first week of its release. Netflix was pleased enough with the numbers to sanction another trip down the blockbuster rabbit hole.

Ayers had hoped to redeem himself by exerting more artistic freedom with “Bright.” Instead, it backfired. Many critics point to the poorly designed social commentary that overpowered the storyline in order to make a statement about discrimination.

Critic Scott Gilchrist of The Wrap writes: “Max Landis’ script — supposedly rewritten heavily by Ayer — turns the whole mess into a parable of discrimination, clumsily evoking troubling moments in race relations both new (‘Faerie lives don’t matter today’) and old (the Rodney King beating) to preach tolerance while somehow doubling down on stereotypes of Latinos and other people of color.”

Max Landis—the man behind the Netflix script—was largely blamed for the harsh response from professional critics. This has resulted in the exclusion of Landis from the development of the sequel.

For fans of the film, the negative views of professional critics carry little weight. This came through in the overwhelming number of subscribers that clicked that “Play Now” button as soon as “Bright” appeared on their play list.

Netflix intends to continue to reinvent the wheel by creating an A-list theatre-quality series sans the actual theatre. This is the ultimate ode to the viewer. It tells traditional film studios that streaming services now have their own venue—and expensive pay-per-view cable movies aren’t welcome.

Patricia Howard

Contributor

Article Author

Patricia Howard is a freelance journalist and Netflix enthusiast from rural Indiana. She has a bachelor''s degree in communication with a concentration in journalism. When Patricia isn''t writing, she enjoys catching up on her favorite shows with her husband and seven children.

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