It’s hard to criticize a man that a lot of us grew up with and can honestly say has been funny as well as dramatic throughout his career. But to date Will Smith has not been the same actor that a lot of us remember it would seem. The days of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air are long gone, and despite the fact that he’s coming back for Bad Boys 3 it would seem that he’s just not the same as he used to be back in the day. And before any of us decide to try and forget, his stint as the genie in Aladdin almost seems like a cringe-worthy moment that could possibly be light and funny if, and this is a BIG if, he keeps it within the realm of reason, as much as that’s possible. Will Smith is a great actor, but throughout the years he’s taken on a few projects that just didn’t flatter him in the slightest.
Going back to just a few of them, Men In Black was something funny and even kind of touching in a way, but after the first one it was a bit contrived and didn’t really work for a lot of people. We got the point, the universe was a much bigger place than anyone understood, and Agent J had a lot to learn. But as the movies rolled on it became obvious that it was becoming gimmickry for the sake of the gimmick. It’s an assumption that at this point the next MIB movie might be just okay considering that it’s using almost no one from the previous movies, apart from Emma Thompson. Then let’s talk about movies like Ali and Seven Pounds, or perhaps After Earth or even I Am Legend. Smith has taken on a lot of projects in the past, some of which were decent and actually showcased the real talent he does have.
Ali was a polarizing movie to be honest since some people didn’t care for the way the former champ, Muhammad Ali, was portrayed by Smith. But others thought it was brilliant since the movie went into more than just the boxing aspect and tried to show Ali’s life in a very distinct and visceral way. It might not have been completely accurate, but it did have stellar cast and did manage to get enough people interested to be considered a worthy movie. Other movies haven’t been quite so lucky however, though Smith has had his hits and misses just like anyone else. Seven Pound was an interesting movie to be certain, but not his best, while After Earth was more of a chance for his son Jaden to shine, though it would seem as though the two of them kind of just waded through it to get to the end. I Am Legend was more of a challenge it would seem as he had to live essentially in a city where his only company was his canine companion and the mannequins he’d strategically placed around the city to keep his sanity intact.
There’s no need to disrespect Smith to the point that any might doubt him, as his skill has been proven throughout the years and his acting talent is something that is above reproach. But some of the movies he’s taken on have been anything but great. He’s a worthwhile actor when it comes to drama, as Concussion and several other movies have proven, but it’s also hard to see him go back to projects such as Aladdin when it would seem that there’s so much more he could be doing. The Pursuit of Happyness was a great movie since it showed an incredible amount of drama that didn’t always paint him as the protagonist, but rather as a man that was simply trying to get by and do the best for his son and himself. Such movies have shown that Smith can and does take his acting seriously and enjoys what he gets himself into since the reward, the love and admiration of the fans, is something that he still craves.
That’s good to be honest, as many actors claim to want the fans to like them, but some will actively state that they don’t care, that the fans can do what they like and they’ll do whatever they think is worth their time. You can’t blame anyone for that, since the passion to act is a very personal thing that must disregard the reactions of the fans if one is to enjoy what they do and truly get into it. But at the end of the day if you want to get rich as an actor then the fans are kind of important. If you like what you do and don’t worry about getting rich or keeping fans then so be it, but if an actor wants the fans and the money then it seems that they have to cater to what people want now and again, if only to keep the paychecks coming.