Director Destin Daniel Cretton admitted he had concerns over helming Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings when his background was almost exclusively in low budget drama, before a conversation with Black Panther‘s Ryan Coogler swayed his decision.
The filmmaker’s previous movie before boarding the biggest game in town saw him tackle the true-life tale of Walter McMillan, who enlisted the help of a young and unproven defense attorney to overturn his murder conviction. The end result was Just Mercy, a moving portrait of a flawed justice system and the effort it takes to right a serious wrong.
Michael B. Jordan toplines the ensemble as Bryan Stevenson, with Jamie Foxx as McMillan and Brie Larson as legal aid Eva Ansley, and the performances are exactly of the quality you’d expect from three heavyweight talents. A Rotten Tomatoes score of 85% and a $50 million box office haul were solid returns, sending Cretton off to the MCU in style.
The Warner Bros. release is now finding a whole new audience on HBO Max, where it’s been steadily rising up the most-watched list all weekend as per FlixPatrol, with the Top 20 now in touching distance. The courtroom subgenre is always worth a watch if done well, and Just Mercy is one of the finest recent examples.