There’s always been something of a disconnect between Will Smith the movie star and Will Smith the actor, and there’s no debating which side of his screen persona has been more successful. The former Fresh Prince is easily one of the biggest box office draws of the last 30 years, boasting an incredible track record of success that saw him nicknamed the King of Summer.
Indeed, it isn’t a coincidence that Smith’s worst and least profitable blockbusters are the ones that have forced him to rein in his natural charm and effortless charisma like After Earth and Gemini Man, while many of his dramatic turns have seen him accused of simply trying too hard to convince audiences that there’s much more to him than fast-talking action heroes.
The Legend of Bagger Vance, Seven Pounds, Winter’s Tale and Concussion were all greeted tepidly by critics, and none of his awards-baiting efforts have managed to surpass Ali or The Pursuit of Happyness, both of which landed him Oscar nominations for Best Actor. The latter’s heartwarming retelling of Chris Gardner’s incredible true story plays firmly to his strengths despite the weighty subject matter, and it’ll no doubt prove massively popular when it comes to Netflix next month on March 1st.
Also heading to the platform on the same day is post-apocalyptic sci-fi I Am Legend, which sees the star deliver perhaps his single most underrated turn as the last man on Earth. The first hour of the movie is phenomenal, before the wheels start to come off a little bit towards the end of the third act as it devolves into standard pyrotechnics and a hugely disappointing conclusion. That being said, it’s still very entertaining, and the duo of wildly different Will Smith vehicles are both virtually guaranteed to crack the Netflix Top 10.