Retrospective: Will Smith's Filmography

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-Will Smith is one of the highest paid actors and truly has a stamp as one of the biggest stars period. While his stature has slightly diminished in the last 6 or 7 years, Will still remains a big name and at the center of controversy recently with the boycotting of the Oscars by himself and his wife Jada. Now, Will's pride and glory to most is his show Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, but as far as films, he has a decent resume and filmography.  Today, we take a look at the good and bad of Will's filmography.

Will Smith is hands down one of the best actors of this generation. It's been amazing to see him evolve over time. One thing no one can say is that he isn't talented. Will is serious about his craft. Even though he starred in his own television show, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I feel he shined brightest on the big screen.

One of his earlier roles was as Tea Cake in the movie, Made in America. Whoopie Goldberg and Nia Long were mother and daughter on a journey to find Nia's father. Will played Nia's best friend. It wasn't much of a dominant role, but his presence was known nonetheless. Then Will's big break came as Mike Lowry in Bad Boys. Playing alongside Martin Lawrence as detectives in Miami, Will brought a different energy to Hollywood. Eight years later, the two actors returned for a sequel. The energy was just as high and the comedy was even more potent.

Independence Day showed Will Smith as USMC captain Steve Hiller who was destined to save the earth from alien invasion. It sounds corny but it was a great movie, I promise. I'm not sure how a sequel will be executed without Will but that's not why we're here. He kept the alien trend going with Men in Black. Again, Will was a police officer with nothing to lose. He changed things up a bit in his life in order to save the world. The only thing he'd have to sacrifice was his entire life.

While I give Will his props for being a great actor, he didn't strike gold with every venture. I personally could've done without Wild, West West. He was a cowboy. And not the kind I like. After Earth was another film that had me scratching my head. However, his animated role as Oscar in Shark Tale was absolute hilarious to me. I love when actors do voice overs for some reason. But that's just me.

As funny as Will Smith is known to be, he also knows when to turn the serious, dramatic switch on. The Pursuit of Happyness is! I don't know a single person who watched the movie and left with a dry eye. Will played a father who was essentially about to lose it all, but he didn't lose faith. Everything that could seemingly go wrong was doing just that until things turned in his favor.

If you had to make me choose my favorite Will Smith, I'd choose Hitch with no hesitation. As the "date doctor", Will made a living bringing people together. Things got interesting when he had to navigate his own love life. I'm a sucker for a romantic comedy. Seeing Will and Eva Mendes in this light-hearted film is never a disappointment.

Will Smith is one of my favorite actors, and while in recent years his movies haven't been as good as his older work, he still is one of the better actors out there in my opinion. I Am Legend, Bad Boys, I, Robot, Independence Day, Hancock and the Pursuit of Happyness are just a few titles I can think of when it comes to Smith, and all of these were great movies to me. In terms of his best movie, I don't think I can choose a single one. Pursuit of Happyness was an amazing story, and the scene where Will has to pretend that the bathroom is a cave with dinosaurs in it just to get Jaden to sleep? I'll probably never forget it. Then again, I Am Legend was an excellent movie where everything seemed to be done right and it's one which I really enjoyed as well. The same goes for I, Robot. In the end, I'd have to say that most of his movies are worth the watch and won't be a disappointment. Smith has shown since his first acting role in the early 90s that he is an excellent actor and a very consistent one as well.

Back in ’88 (and yes I actually remember this) was when “Parents just don’t understand” came out and every kid was a fan of this song. In fact, it was so popular that a couple years later when Will Smith would appear on Fresh Prince, some of us referred to him as “the parents just don’t understand guy”. Up until 1990, Will Smith was just a rapper who he didn’t use curse words, so we were always allowed to listen to him, but that would very quickly be overshadowed by his personality and humor on Fresh Prince which we enjoyed season after season, but then Smith would hit the big screen in a leading (significant more so) role.

Here’s the great thing about Will Smith: even though he was on Fresh Prince, he never got type-casted. He’s been on the big screen for 20+ years and has depicted various roles, from detectives and secret agents to love doctors and animated fish, I mean the guy has really done everything, and he’s great at it. In each and every role, Smith brings personality, believability and versatility. Let me walk you through my personal favorites:

First, Bad Boys, I’ve watched this movie upwards of 80 times and I love everything about it in large part because of Will. He was the absolute perfect person to play smooth talking, good looking, charismatic and funny Mike Lowery. From the very first scene in Bad Boys 1 of him driving the Porsche all the way to the end where he’s walking off the runway, he gave us wit, laughs and action. The scene with “JoJo the tire man” and “Club Hell” are fantastic and of course the constant bickering and back and forth with Marcus and Captain Howard are hilarious. The sequel was also in the same taste as it was action packed and full of humor and everything we loved about the dynamic of the characters. Smith truly has excellent chemistry with the entire cast in both movies and I think is such a great choice for any Michael Bay film. He just executes well and truly brings his character to life.

I guess we can’t ignore the fact that Will was cast as arguably one of the best athletes of all time. His role in Ali would bring him immense recognition and a solid reputation as a great actor. He was nominated for Best Actor in ’02 for this role and it was quite deserving. I would imagine it to be incredibly difficult to portray the best heavyweight boxer of all time, one who has a huge and loyal fan base, but Will Smith did a fantastic job. He nailed Muhammad Ali’s personality, confidence, wit and humor. This couldn’t have been an easy task, Will had to bulk up for this role physically and make sure he did an accurate job of going from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali at a midway point, which he did perfectly. Once again, all the elements that made this believable and well executed was on point and as expected, Smith did a terrific job.

Another one of my favorite roles he’s done is “Hitch”. I absolutely love this movie, once again a great mix of cast and of course Will’s chemistry and dynamic with each is perfect. This was such a feel good, comedic chick flick done in a not-so-sappy way that even the fellas liked it. Once again, Will’s charming, charisma and sense of humor are on point thus making the character of “Hitch” seem like his real life profession. He never over does his role and never seems to try too hard which I appreciate. He really was the best person for this.

As I said, Will Smith’s catalog is huge, there’s no way I could speak to each movie, but also amongst my favorites are “The Pursuit of Happyness” which was incredibly heartfelt and emotional and earned him an Academy Award nomination. Then, “Seven Pounds”, which had me in tears for days and was conceptually amazing and of course “I am Legend” which he carried entirely on his own and it goes on to “I, Robot”, “Shark Tale”, the “Men in Black” trilogy... you get the point. Will Smith has been in some very noteworthy movies and has executed each role very well. He brings the director and writer's vision to life while infusing each with a bit of himself. He is truly a favorite in Hollywood and I’m sure we will continue to see him in upcoming movies. And who knows, maybe one day he’ll actually win an Academy Award.

Will Smith, such a great actor, can't say much about his music, but his acting I can go on about. He has to be one of the best actors as he puts all of his emotion into it. From Men In Black to I Am Legend to Seven Pounds to Pursuit of Happyness,  every movie I named you can't say it wasn't his best work. Out of all his movies, I Am Legend, Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds, Hitch, and Hancock are my favorite movies, it's hard to pick one. If I had to pick one, I'd maybe go with I Am Legend. Great story and you can feel all the emotion, because he is alone (though he has his dog) and wants to save the world. Just like in every other movie or show, he can be serious, funny and even sad. Some actors only can do serious movies or funny movies, but he's a complete actor and he can nail any role no matter what.

Outro by @TrueGodImmortal
-Me personally, I've never really watched Will's first big movie role, which would be his role as a gay man in Six Degrees of Separation. I've heard differing views on that role in particular, but I'll say it shows the range that Will has as an actor. From Bad Boys 1 and 2, which are two of my favorite movies personally, to a slept on gem in Enemy Of The State, which is a classic to me, Will during the late 90's was on a hot streak. Though I'm not the biggest fan of Men in Black and Independence Day, these were monster hits that transitioned Will from being the Fresh Prince to a Box Office powerhouse. Now, I could do without Wild Wild West (though I didn't hate it upon release) and The Legend of Bagger Vance as well, but his role as Ali was absolutely amazing. I don't think Will gets enough credit for his role in that film, even though he got nominated for an Oscar. I like his role in Hitch too, which shocked me by not being a terrible movie, and my all time favorite role of his came in The Pursuit of Happyness. I personally felt he should have won for that powerful performance. In recent years, Will has been hit or miss, more so miss than anything. His roles in Seven Pounds, After Earth, Focus and even a pretty good showing in Concussion still all fell flat. These movies felt too by the numbers essentially. Regardless, Will returns to form with Bad Boys 3 next year and appears in Suicide Squad later this year. Maybe he recapture that magic.



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