The Audience Seems To Like Bright A Whole Lot More Than The Critics Do

Will Smith Bright

Quite a lot of the time film critics and the general film audience tend to have similar views on movies. However, there are always those times when the two groups diverge greatly, and Bright is apparently one of those times. While the vast majority of film critics have lambasted the urban fantasy film starring Will Smith, it turns out that most viewers actually like the movie. While the critic rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes sits at an abysmal 27%, the Audience Score is a remarkably high 89%.

Seeing a discrepancy between critics and fans isn't unusual, but a gap quite as large as the one Bright has is a bit different. For comparison's sake, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has an identical positive critics' score at 27% and while the Audience Score is much higher than that, it's sitting at 63% which is a great deal lower than what Bright has put together. In addition to the positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie is also racking up positive reviews on Netflix itself. The review currently rated as "Most Helpful" is a perfect five-star review, and many of the reviews are of the four and five-star variety. A brief glance at the Netflix reviews that are on the other side of spectrum reveals many people whose primary criticism of Bright is the film's extensive use of the F-bomb; regardless, while there's nothing wrong with that, it shows that many of those who are taking a negative view of Bright are not necessarily being critical of the plot or characters, which is what most of the critics took issue with.

In the end what seems to be going on is that the audience is embracing the good parts of Bright more than the critics, while letting what the critics see as its negative aspects go. Most everybody would seem to agree to one degree or another that the premise of Bright, set in an urban fantasy world that looks essentially like our own, but with humans living alongside Tolkien-esque fantasy creatures, is an interesting place to start. Critics, however, largely don't think the film takes the idea anyplace interesting, with one review even calling it the worst film of the year. The audience, however, doesn't seem to mind. For them, the addition of magic to a gritty buddy cop movie is enough to keep things entertaining for the film's duration.

I watched Bright myself the other night and my take is similar to that of our official review. There's some solidly done worldbuilding that doesn't quite live up to its promise, and the metaphors are a bit heavy-handed, but that doesn't make Bright a terrible movie, just a mildly disappointing one. A sequel is already on the way, so we'll see if things change for the audience or the critics when Bright 2 comes along.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.