The Will Smith Renaissance

Right before Bright came out a few months ago I was in the middle of writing how Will Smith was on a strange path that culminated in another Rotten score. Then I watched the movie. Then Will Smith joined Instagram. Then I scrapped my piece. Did I almost betray the man who entertained us all these years? I did. But maybe I can make up for it.

It’s hard to truly find a creative who has spent decades truly making a name for themselves and finding new ways to stay on top of the entertainment world. Then there is Will Smith. Starting out as an MC and teaming up with the infamous DJ Jazzy Jeff, he build his moniker of The Fresh Prince. A few Grammy wins later and recoiling from unpaid taxes he was given a sitcom by NBC. The rest is essentially history. After nearly 3 decades of fame there were a handful of duds or projects that didn’t necessarily work well. Some by critics and some by fans. It didn’t help that Suicide Squad was panned, even though I can’t lie I have seen it over a half dozen times. Will is generally the shining spot in most of these films as he truly exudes charisma. His turn as Deadshot might have been one of my favorite iterations of a comic book character, especially for DC (don’t @ me). I remember seeing the trailer for Bright when it dropped and seeing Will Smith with a sword might have been one of the most bad ass shots from a trailer. Period.

For some reason though Hollywood is unforgiving. They sat and said Will was washed up, that his kids were strange, and that he was *gasp* a Scientologist. But Jaden Smith is now a superstar, culminating in Elon Musk selling him the first Tesla Model X. Willow has 2 solid albums under her belt with also being celebrated for her development. Jada Pinkett is no slouch either, killing it on the big screen and small. Hollywood royalty? I doubt we can deny it this point.

I keep going back to Bright. Bottom line is critics hated it and I almost took the bait. Then I sat there and watched it. Twice. As a filmmaker I have to say one of the toughest things is to sometimes look past the critics. But I did, and it was well worth it. See the issue is looking at Bright as some sort of one off. It isn’t. The movie is part of a trilogy that can really be fantastic. It doesn’t hurt that Will Smith can truly lead a film by sheer charisma alone. This is evident I think in almost every movie he has starred in for the majority of his career. Sure the writing can be great, and so is the supplementary acting, but man Will Smith operating on a high level is hard to come close to.

But that’s where Instagram comes in. The man took social media by storm by culminating into 14 million followers since December 2017. That’s crazy. What makes it even crazier is that it’s all top notch content. He gives us throwbacks, pranks, great commentary, and a look into his talented family. What more can you really ask for? Not much if truth be told. Did I mention the man does not age? He doesn’t. I apologize for ever doubting you sensei. I think we’re all here for the Will Smith Renaissance.

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