Warning: this article contains SPOILERS for David Ayer's Bright! Read ahead at your own risk!
Netflix is no stranger to the world of original films, but with Bright, the streaming platform has finally entered the landscape of big-budget blockbuster filmmaking. David Ayer's gritty, fairy tale cop thriller generated some significant viewership numbers when it premiered last month, and that success has led to the quick announcement of Bright 2, with Ayer returning alongside Will Smith and Joel Edgerton.
While there's undoubtedly going to be some excitement among the film's fans, now also seems like a time to figure out what Bright 2 can do to surpass the merits of the original. With that in mind, we have put together a handy list of changes that this burgeoning franchise should make as it moves into its second installment.
Feature A Better Villain
Right off the bat, it needs to be said that one of Bright's weakest narrative elements was its villain. Noomi Rapace is a phenomenal actress and was a physical powerhouse in Bright's fight scenes, but the Prometheus star was given almost nothing to work with as Leilah. Regardless of whether Bright 2 finds a way to bring her back or if the film simply moves on and finds another bad guy altogether, we want Ward and Jakoby to face off against an antagonist who reads as earned, menacing, empathetic and generally more engaging than the crooked cops and arch villains that showed up in the first movie. Heroes are only as good as their most sinister bad guys, so the sequel should pull out all of the stops to show us the heroics that ward and Jakoby are capable of. Think Darth Vader, Loki or Hans Gruber.
Have Consequences For Ward And Jakoby's Actions
One downside of putting Ward and Jakoby on the run over the course of a single evening is the fact that Bright never really gives us much of a proper look at either of their home lives and it never really feels like any appropriate stakes are established for either character. Sure, Ward has his family go into hiding when he realizes what's about to go down around him, but it ultimately never pans out as a significant plot thread that shows us something about Ward's personality. Then there's the death of Jakoby, which is quickly Deus Ex Machina'd out of existence through the power of a magic wand. With Bright 2 coming down the pipe, we don't want anymore fake-outs or do-overs. Let Ward and Jakoby get hurt (both physically and emotionally) and leave them fundamentally changed by their actions throughout the movie.
Explore All Of The Races And Creatures In Los Angeles
Thinking big picture, several moments in the first Bright show just how sizable the world truly is in terms of its scope and diversity. It's not only a caste system based on the hierarchy of elves at the top, orcs at the bottom, and humans in the middle. There are dragons, centaurs and countless other races that exist in this world and fit somewhere in the melting pot of society. Now that the world has been properly established and a necessary amount of rules have been laid out to audiences, we think it's time for Bright 2 to explore the world even more and show us how these insane and otherworldly beings live. This is something that other similar franchises like Hellboy and Star Wars have done with phenomenal results, and it seems like a natural fit for the Bright universe as we move into Bright 2.
Be More Subtle In Its Message
Any questions about whether or not Bright wanted to tackle issues of modern police work were quickly thrown out the window within the first few minutes of the movie. The film hardly hid the fact that it was handling some serious social topics involving racial, social and class issues, and while the concept of using a fantasy backdrop to talk about these timely issues seems smart, Bright failed to say anything meaningful because of how heavy-handed it ultimately felt. If the Bright universe wants to continue holding up a mirror and to say something about real-world political and social institutions, then Bright 2 should approach these topics with a smarter sense of subtlety and finesse. No more of this "fairy lives do not matter today" dialogue. Instead of one-liners, give us a legitimately compelling allegory that echoes our own world in a way that feels earned.
Offer A Stronger Core Story
Last, but certainly not least, one significant element of the Bright universe that needs to change as we move into the next entry and flesh things out further is the fact that Bright 2 should employ a far more inventive and engaging storyline for us to follow. The quest to keep a magic wand out of the hands of Leilah ultimately boils down to a MacGuffin hunt that we have seen in thousands of other movies over the years, and it doesn't take advantage of the world created by Max Landis. This is a fantastical world and it deserves a far more fantastical storyline. We want to see a story that can only take place in the Bright world and can only play out based on the unique personalities of Ward, Jakoby and any other characters that get introduced along the way.