Netflix's Bright Reviews Are In, Here's What The Critics Are Saying

Bright Movie Poster Will Smith Joel Edgerton

Netflix continues to invest a fortune in original content, and its most expensive project to date is David Ayer's Bright. A bizarre fantasy-cop adventure from the mind of Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis, Bright recently screened for critics, and we've pulled together a first look at what people are thinking about the flick. In fact, we here at CinemaBlend got a chance to see the film, and our review is one of the many takes on this varied cop adventure. In our assessment of the film, we said:

David Ayer's Bright isn't as clever as it thinks it is on a thematic level, but it's a decent buddy-cop thriller set in a fascinating world that's worth a weekend viewing.

In my opinion, Bright is far from a perfect film, but it definitely delivers on a few critical levels. It's a solid action movie that plays into the strengths of Suicide Squad's David Ayer, but its message about racial politics and how those politics play into police work don't quite resonate the way the film thinks they do. The injection of Tolkien-esque creatures and beasts into a gritty and modern landscape works to create a compelling universe, but that world ultimately isn't maximized to its fullest potential.

The positives of our own review are very much echoed in Variety's glowing Bright review. In fact, the outlet classifies Bright not only as a good movie, but also Netflix's best original film yet, saying:

Bright is the best Netflix original movie to date, and it absolutely deserves to be seen on the big screen, though don't let that stop you from watching it home, as End of Watch director David Ayer's welcome return to the cop-movie genre -- following a disastrous wrong turn into Suicide Squad territory, of which we will say no more -- fills an intense, grown-up movie niche that Hollywood once did so well, but has since replaced with formula-driven product.

Building off of that idea, the folks at MovieWeb were lukewarm about much of the film's formulaic nature, but praised the construction of the world and David Ayer's ability to play into his strengths as an action filmmaker. That review said:

David Ayer's doesn't stray far from his wheelhouse, even with the fantasy aspects. Bright can be genuinely summed up as End of Watch with magical creatures. That's not a negative. Audiences like violent cop films, and that's exactly what we have here. It was good to see Will Smith play a character with a harder edge. He shredded bad guys in Ayer's Suicide Squad, but that was cartoonish and cheesy. Bright is soaked in blood and guts.

Alas, the takes on Bright definitely do get harsher from there. Specifically, the IndieWire review of the film not only gave it an "F" rating, but it also referred to it as the worst film of the year. In its review, the outlet wrote:

Potentially a dark harbinger of things to come, Bright isn't only the worst film of 2017, it could be responsible for many of the worst films of 2018 and beyond. If this gambit pays off -- if Netflix fortifies their assault on the theatrical experience by internally developing blockbuster-sized movies that are even semi-consciously optimized for disinterested audiences -- then it's hard to imagine how dark the future of feature-length filmmaking might be.

Looking at that wide variety of reactions and responses, it's clear that David Ayer's Bright has worked at least on some level for some audiences, but it may not work for everyone. The fantasy-themed cop thriller debuts on Netflix tomorrow, December 22, so you won't have too much longer to wait to check it out. In the world of theatrical releases, you can also take a look at CinemaBlend's 2017 movie premiere guide and 2018 movie premiere guide to get a better sense of what's coming to the big screen over the course of the next year.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.