Bright Star Reflects on the Netflix Movie's 'Harsh' Critical Reception (2024)


  • Joel Edgerton reflects on the mixed reaction to Bright, favoring audience responses over harsh critical reviews.
  • Bright, a Netflix film with Will Smith, defied critics with a 26% Rotten Tomatoes rating versus an 83% audience score.
  • Despite negative backlash, Bright's success almost led to a sequel, showing that public opinion matters.

Joel Edgerton recently reflected on the mixed reception of his 2017 Netflix film Bright. At the time, the action fantasy flick, co-starring Will Smith, was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics but embraced by audiences. The film currently holds a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience score sits at 83%. During a recent interview with Inverse, the Dark Matter actor reflected on the "harsh" critical response to Bright, saying that he is "fascinated by the critical response versus audience responses of movies."

"I have a lot of feelings about 'Bright.' In general, I'm fascinated by the critical response versus audience responses of movies. Either the audience score is super low and the critics love it, or the critics hate it, but the audience is like, 'Actually, we love this.' Occasionally you get a double win or a double loss. My brother's TV series, 'Mr Inbetween,' is one of the rare double wins.

But 'Bright' was one of those ones that I think was in the sort of low 30s for the critics, but it struck a chord with people. Netflix would be able to tell you that with their algorithms, but enough people were taking the time to rate the movie high, which meant that there was definitely an appetite for more. And I often thought the critics were a little bit too harsh on that movie."

Written by Max Landis (whose career prospects in Hollywood significantly diminished after sexual abuse allegations surfaced around the time of Bright's release) and directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad), Bright dives into a Los Angeles replete with orcs, elves, and fairies. LAPD officer Daryl Ward (Smith) finds himself with an unlikely partner: Nick Jakoby (Edgerton), the world's first orc cop. Their tense patrol takes a wild turn when they encounter an elf with a forbidden magic wand (what the title term refers to), forcing them to fight together to keep it out of the wrong hands. Noomi Rapace, Édgar Ramírez, and Ike Barinholtz round out the cast.


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The critically panned film fared well for Netflix (with about 11 million American viewers streaming the movie within the first three days of its release), and the streamer ordered a sequel and an anime spinoff. The anime Bright: Samurai Soul premiered in 2021, again to mixed reviews. The sequel, which met several delays due to Smith's busy schedule, was axed after his Oscars debacle.

What Was the Problem With Bright?

Bright Star Reflects on the Netflix Movie's 'Harsh' Critical Reception (2)





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Release Date
December 22, 2017
David Ayer
Will Smith , Joel Edgerton , Noomi Rapace , Kenneth Choi , Brad William Henke , Lucy Fry

Main Genre
Max Landis


Holy sh*t, the overview says Among Us.

Defending Bright after its release, Edgerton stated, "I think 'Bright' is maybe a movie that needs to be reviewed by public opinion rather than viewed through the highbrow prism of film criticism." And that "highbrow prism of film criticism" proved rough: critics slammed the film as tired, unimaginative, outdated, and unwatchable (among a slew of other unfavorable adjectives), with many going as far as dubbing it the worst movie of 2017. The same year that saw The Emoji Movie, the CHIPS reimagining, and Fifty Shades Darker drop.

Entertainment Weekly, which graded Bright a D-, did have some positive words:

"As the well-intentioned Jakoby, Edgerton is actually fairly charming under all the prosthetics and makeup, and despite the film's nonsensical plot, you can't help but root for his big-hearted orc."

Audience reviews were much more positive, with many praising the action sequences, the film's original storyline, and entertaining characters. Some critics - albeit a limited few - agreed with audiences, with the rare bright sparks feeling that the Netflix moviewas well-executed and would leave audiences wanting more.

Edgerton currently stars in Apple TV+'s Dark Matters, a sci-fi series he describes as a "multiverse version of 'It's a Wonderful Life.'"

New episodes of Dark Matter stream on Apple TV+ on Wednesdays.

Bright Star Reflects on the Netflix Movie's 'Harsh' Critical Reception (2024)


Bright Star Reflects on the Netflix Movie's 'Harsh' Critical Reception? ›

During a recent interview with Inverse, the Dark Matter actor reflected on the "harsh" critical response to Bright, saying that he is "fascinated by the critical response versus audience responses of movies." "I have a lot of feelings about 'Bright.

What was the point of the movie Bright? ›

The film is set in an alternate present in which humans and mythical creatures co-exist and details an LAPD police officer (portrayed by Will Smith) and his orc partner (Joel Edgerton) confronting racism and police corruption while protecting a magic wand and the elf girl (Lucy Fry) who wields it.

Why didn't people like the movie Bright? ›

"Bright" is an action film that looks like a pilot of a TV series. The screenplay begins too rushed in a world of orcs and elves living with humans without explanation.

What is the plot of Bright? ›

What happens to the baby in Bright? ›

After killing her as well as the policemen who survived, the three threaten a local Latino family to tell them what happened. Later also kill them, Serafin apparently ruthlessly kills the baby of the family.

Who is the villain in Bright? ›

Leilah is the main antagonist of the 2017 Netflix urban fantasy film Bright. She is an elf (one of the three intelligent species on Earth, the others being humans and orcs) and a Bright (a being with the rare capability of using a Magic Wand).

Is Bright Star a sad movie? ›

"Bright Star" is a tragic love story, beautifully directed, acted, photographed and written.

What does blooded mean in the movie Bright? ›

An important part of their culture is the commitment of an act of bravery to become 'blooded. ' It is implied this is a sort of initiation rite into a specific clan. Unblooded, unattached Orcs, are rejected and despised by their own species, often considering such individuals to not be true Orcs.

What was the prophecy in Bright? ›

There's a prophecy that says once the Dark Lord returns he will once again claim Orc allegiance to his cause, leading to intense distrust by other races.

Who plays the bad elf in Bright? ›

Noomi Rapace On Her Badass Elf Character In “Bright"Noomi plays a badass elf who wants to kill Will Smith in the upcoming Netflix movie "Bright." Noomi Rapace's Filthy Favorite SongThe "Bright" cast bonded over "Heels On," a sexually explicit reggae song that Noomi always had on repeat.

Is there a dragon in the movie Bright? ›

The world of Bright is populated by multiple intelligent races. In addition to these intelligent races, there are a number of magical creatures seen in Bright, such as a Dragon flying over the LA skyline, according to Max Landis' script many of the creatures could be seen in the Los Angeles Zoo.

What happened to Tikka at the end of Bright? ›

The Inferni are publicly labeled as simply an extremist group, and Ward and Jakoby are honored by the city for their actions. At the ceremony, Tikka reveals herself to Ward as she walks through the crowd, showing that she's alive and well.

Who do the elves represent in Bright? ›

Some moviegoers see the humans, orcs, elves, and fairies as representative of the different classes from today's society. Elves are the high class, humans are the middle class, and the orcs and fairies represent the low class. It may sound a little weird, but this movie really shows the different lifestyles exactly.

Why was Ward able to hold the wand? ›

As a Bright, Ward is able to safely wield a Magic Wand though he is unaware of this ability until the final confrontation with Leilah. Using the spell Vaykwaros, Ward was able to incinerate the evil elf and set the Shield of Light safehouse on fire when earlier Tikka only managed to restrain Leilah with the same spell.

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