Despite its initial promise, David Ayer's new Netflix movie Bright is getting slammed with bad reviews from movie critics. Following on the heels of his previous directorial flub, Suicide Squad, it was always going to be interesting to see how Ayer bounced back. Rumors of studio interference plagued the director's last film, as the numerous rewrites and significant reshoots the DCEU flick were subjected to were more than evident on screen. Ayer has since praised Netflix for allowing him the sort of creative freedom rarely seen in modern Hollywood.
Ironically, now that critics have gotten a look at Bright, more than a few have mentioned how badly the story needed a good polishing. Half fantasy epic, half gritty L.A. cop drama, Ayer's latest doesn't appear to have nailed either of its split personalities. It's said to be the most expensive original film that Netflix has produced to date, sporting a $90 million budget. But hefty price tags like that may not become the norm for the streaming service if they result in efforts like this.
If you were deciding between heading to the theater this weekend or staying in and checking out Netflix's latest original offering, Bright's critical consensus may just sway you into leaving the comforts of home and spending $15 bucks on popcorn and soda. Read on for The Most Brutal Reviews Of Bright.
(Be sure to stay tuned until the end, because Ayer has actually directly addressed the nasiest review of all!)
Astoundingly bad in virtually every way ... Even Will Smith’s irrepressible charisma can’t compete with the unrelentingly muddy production design, the poorly-conceived characters and a profoundly stupid racial metaphor that somehow amplifies stereotypes of actual ethnic groups. The result is another genre disaster that’s only impressive in how arrogantly the filmmakers presume audiences will want it to be expanded into a franchise ... Bright” takes a bunch of gobbledygook from “The Lord of the Rings,” liquefies it in a blender and pours it liberally over the same “corrupt cop comes to a moral crossroads” blueprint that Ayer has been copying since “Training Day.” -- The Wrap
Bright is as close to pointless as a sci-fi action-adventure fantasy parable about racism with an expensive cast and ersatz runic undertones can get. -- Film Journal International
That old Hollywood standby, the venerable buddy cop movie, may have met its anguished demise this holiday season. Will Smith just killed it ... Things go seriously off the rails as the film lurches to its conclusion. Smith seems to know how bad the film is so he agrees to have his face hit repeatedly, leaving it puffy and bloody. Perhaps he hopes no one can recognize him anymore. But there’s no escaping the truth. This film makes his misfire “Wild Wild West” looks like “The Godfather.” Plus, he knows he just buried the buddy cop film genre. You’ll never see two cops swapping snide comments in the front seat of a cruiser again — and not laugh. -- Associated Press
So interested in having its cake and eating it too, Bright is always threatening to burst at the seams, and by the time Ward glibly says, “F*** magic,” in the final scene, this inconsistent, incoherent mess of a film all but begs you to agree with him. -- Slant Magazine
After a while, it becomes clear that Landis’ impulse for slaughter and Ayers’ impulse to display the loudest possible form of filmmaking at all times is a match tailor made for obnoxious storytelling ... In the end, it’s probably a blessing for Bright that it ended up on Netflix, where it can sit in a queue for as long as the audience wants. It’s the opposite of must-see. It’s a collection of admittedly impressive action sequences (like, $90 million impressive) trying to be so much more. Barring a certain Centaur Cop spin-off, Bright mostly deserves to be dimmed. -- Collider
Congratulations, Netflix! You can make a visually grotesque, dreadfully dull and hopelessly convoluted would-be franchise action movie just as well as the stereotypical Hollywood machine! If anything, Bright is a giant Christmas/Hanukah gift from Netflix to the major studios. It shows the streaming giant falling on its face in its attempts to replicate the so-called Hollywood blockbuster. -- Forbes
It’s easy to see how everyone got very excited about the concept but there’s almost nothing more to the film than that. It’s impossible to be immersed in this world when the character-building conversations feel templated, the exposition is so wooden it may as well be delivered direct to camera (the magic-controlling Feds stop to run a re-cap of the story by each other halfway through), and the energy is non-existent ... Those good intentions are evident but the end result is a two hour-long, tedious, uninspired slog. -- SciFiNow
The problem with setting a familiar story in a foreign universe is that you have to establish the parameters of said universe or risk losing your audience. That's world-building 101, folks. Bright does not care about that. Bright's attitude is closer to "f*** you for not somehow keeping up with our cool s***" before doing a lot of push-ups ... This is what it looks like when good ideas go bad. A sequel, naturally, has already been greenlit. Go orc yourself, Hollywood. -- Rolling Stone
In an interesting twist, director David Ayer has actually taken the time to directly address his harshest critic. In a tweet sent out earlier today, Ayer had nothing but praise for IndieWire's David Ehrlich.
This is going on my fridge. Highest compliment is a strong reaction either way. This is a f*cking epic review. It’s a big fun movie. You can sure string words together Mr. Erlich. I’d love to read any script you’ve written.— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) December 21, 2017
So what exactly prompted Ayer to respond? We've compiled some of the highlights of Ehrlich's truly epic takedown below, but we highly recommend checking out the full review:
There’s boring, there’s bad, and then there’s Bright, a movie so profoundly awful that Republicans will probably try to pass it into law over Christmas break ... A $90 million blockbuster that boasts all the production value of an episode of Charmed ... Ayer’s dim and sloppy action set-pieces look wildly out of place on a movie screen (they’re so bland you almost expect Iron Fist to show up), and the constipated dialogue scenes that surround them tend to repeat the same points ad nauseam, as though they were written to accommodate a teenage kid who’s multi-tasking between the movie he’s watching in one window and the porn he’s streaming in another. Forget about staying woke, “Bright” doesn’t even care if you’re really watching. Without exaggeration, the final dialogue exchange in this movie is so punishingly drawn out that you might start wondering what you did wrong. -- IndieWire