Let’s face it, the only reason this Netflix original film has been highly anticipated is because of Will Smith. I think I speak for most Will Smith fans in saying that, if Will posted an hour long video explaining how to properly take out a second mortgage, I’d still check it out. That being said, the mythical creatures shown in the previews of this film deserve some credit for my early intrigue. I read some brutal reviews of the movie, but decided to give it a fair chance. I must admit, I was growing more and more skeptic and actually winced as I pressed play.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the movie. In the opening credits, we are shown graffiti tags that introduce us to some of the mythical creatures in this world. Some tags display Elves at the top in the social hierarchy. There are some paintings that show Orcs being beat down by human police officers. Right away, we are led to assume there will be some not-so-subtle similarities between Elves/White People and Orcs/Black people. It appears that humans will fall somewhere in the middle of these two classes, presumably representing the middle class Americans. Before the opening credits even finish, I have experienced dread and excitement. I am excited that maybe this movie will provoke some much needed dialogue in the race issues we have in America. The dread comes after seeing the words: Orcs, Elves, wands, and the Dark Lord. So… is this going to be Independence Day meets Lord of The Rings meets Harry Potter?
Will Smith’s character, Ward, is partners with the only Orc police officer. There are several scenes throughout this movie that align with the social injustices and prejudices we are surrounded by today. The creators of this movie obviously wanted to go above and beyond in showing how hard it is for certain minorities to fight through adversity to simply be given a fair chance. Even when the Orc police officer is “given his fair chance”, several other police officers conspire to kill him simply based on his race.
Now this is where the movie starts to become over saturated. Within a few scenes, this seemingly slow paced movie transitions into a full on war between: Good cops, bad cops, Good Elves, Bad Elves (trying to bring back Volde- I mean… the Dark Lord), Orcs, and a Mexican gang. It is a lot to take in.
The reason they are all fighting? Well the magical wand of course. We are quickly told that there are certain people who are called “brights”. Only they can possess a wand and not blow up. Most brights are Elves but they hint that there are very few human brights as well. From here, we all obviously, and correctly guess how the movie ends. Sure enough, Ward is a bright.
There are some badass fight scenes in the movie, all thanks to the acrobatic Elves. If you have scene Lord of The Rings, the Elves are nearly identical except they aren’t expert archers. Instead, they use guns, bombs, and their hands.
An aspect that I applaud in the movie is the fact that each race, though filled with evil people, has one good person representing them. Ward, the good human, fights his way through each group along side the good Orc, and the good Elvish teenage girl.
The climax of the movie comes as predictable as it gets, Ward uses the magic wand to destroy the evil Elves and stops the Dark Lord from rising again.
The movie was not as bad as most of these reviews are making it out to be. But it is also not as good as I had hoped. Perhaps after I watch it again, and pick up more details to rid any confusion, it will become better. To me, the overwhelming disappointment stems from the always high expectations of a Will Smith movie. It is the same disappointment that Eminem fans felt a couple weeks ago when Revival was not as good as hoped for. To me, this movie will probably fall into the category of movies that I will probably never watch again, but I am happy I watched it once. If I had to give it a rating, I’d say it’s a solid 68%.