(SPOILER-FREE) Warner Bros.' King Richard - Will Smith Dominates a Great Sports Movie

Based on the unknown true story you have to see to believe.

King Richard is a 2021 biographical sports drama film directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, written by Zach Baylin, produced by Westbrook Studios, Star Thrower Entertainment, and Keepin' It Real, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It's based on the lives of The Williams family. It stars Will Smith and Saniyya Sidney. It was nominated for and won Best Actor, while it was just nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song, and Best Film Editing.


"Venus and Serena gonna shake up this world." -Richard Williams

Plot


Richard Williams has been gifted with five beautiful daughters: two of which are going to follow his plan and become pro tennis stars. As Venus and Serena Williams grow up, Richard coaches them and helps them on the path to becoming two of the greatest tennis players of all time. Throughout his journey, though, Richard faces adversity, racism, and a growing tension that threatens his family.


Venus, Serena, and a plan for greatness.


Will Smith's Best Performance Ever / Inspiring Story / Optimistic Tone / Emotional Weight / The Williams / Soundtrack / Script / Using the Sports Template Well / Sidelining Serena / Unnecessary Elements / Editing


Should you watch King Richard?


Final Score


Positive Aspects


King Richard is a great movie that features a top-notch Will Smith. I'll say this right off the bat: I am not the biggest Will Smith fan. I enjoy his movies, but besides Aladdin, I haven't really enjoyed him or his movies. I don't really like Men in Black, and, obviously, Suicide Squad is garbage. When buzz for King Richard started circling, people were saying he was great. That is an understatement. This is one of the best performances of the last ten years. If he does not win Best Actor, I will boycott the Oscars. He brought so much liveliness and optimism to this role, while also having a layer of emotion that emerged when he needed it too.


The story of Venus and Serena Williams is also incredibly inspiring. While we all know how it turns out, it was very interesting to see their growth and eventual overwhelming success from their father's point of view. This movie is so uplifting and has such a great message, as the best of sports movies is supposed to.


And this movie is just injected with an infectious sense of optimism and joy. It's a different kind of hopeful tone than Ted Lasso, but it was reminiscent of that show. Venus and Serena are sports idols and stand for so much more than just tennis, and they made sure to include that in this movie.


And it can get pretty emotional at times. There is a scene where Venus decides to play her first pro match, and Richard gives her a speech about his childhood. It's one of the most powerful moments in a film this year. Will Smith brought everything he had in that scene, and it will just yank at your heart and definitely bring a few tears to the eyes. There are other moments, too, that come when you least expect it. They make sure that the emotional moments are sprinkled throughout so you should always have a tissue box prepared.


And the Williams family is one of the best family portrayals on film. They seem like a loving family that want to lift each other up while also keeping each other in check. I don't think I've ever cared for a family in a movie more than I cared for this family. They had such a great dynamic and a deep, deep love for each other member of the family. The girls seem like good sisters to each other, and Richard and Oracene are genuinely great parents. They feel like real people, which is a very good thing, because they are real people.


I also really liked this movie's soundtrack. It had a lot of blues music from the 70s, and it served as a nice addition to an already great movie. It can't match Cruella's soundtrack, which was fantastic, but it's still a very good blend of fun music.


The script for this movie was also really good. Part of the reason you care about the Williams family so much is because the script writes them as though they are a real family. Once again, they are, so that's a really impressive achievement. The screenwriters were not afraid to make main protagonists do bad things. Richard is a likable character, but he does some very unlikable things. Now, the script is based off of real events, but as a screenwriter, you decide which of those real events to include in your movie. And this screenwriter did that very well.


I think what this movie does best is a classic portrayal of the usual sports template. Sports movies follow a very specific journey: a character or characters have to overcome adversity and hard times to eventually succeed at their sport. That is what King Richard is. But it nails this template. And I mean nails it.


Negative Aspects


My first thing is more of a mixed aspect and not really a negative, but I have to mention it: This movie is much more about Venus than Serena. This story centers around Venus. Serena is a part of it, but she certainly is not the central piece. She acts as a side character. They show glimpses of her greatness, but this is Venus' story.


One of the strangest things about this movie was some very unnecessary elements. They introduce some things that you think are going to pay off in the end and contribute to the story, and then the credits roll, and you think back to that moment and wonder why it was included. There's an antagonist introduced early in the movie named Roc. You think there's going to be some kind of subplot with him. but nope. They end his story very quickly. They have a news broadcast about Rodney King, and you think they are going to have some social commentary, but nope. There's barely any of that in the movie. It was a really weird element that holds this movie back a good amount.


Finally, I really was not a fan of this movie's editing. There were time jumps that happened throughout the movie that you were not aware of. There were montages through tennis tournaments where I could not tell what was happening. They would talk about events in the movie as though they had happened earlier in the film, but they didn't. Now, that may also be a fault of the screenwriters, but I'm mostly blaming the editors.


Should you go see King Richard?


Yes. One hundred percent. This is one of the best movies of the year. I would recommend streaming it, though. I do want this movie to do well at the box office, but it really wouldn't be any different in the theater, and the experience is not worth the health risks of the theater.


Final Score


King Richard is a great sports movie that boasts an absolutely incredible performance from an older Will Smith.


I think I'm going Savory here. Age range is 8+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


"King Richard"


Fun Factor: 7.5/10

Acting: 9.5/10

Characters: 8.5/10

Story: 9/10 Quality: 9/10


Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green


Rated PG-13 for minor violence, moderate language and thematic elements


Released on November 19, 2021


2 hours and 24 minutes


Will Smith as Richard Williams

Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams

Aunjanue Ellis as Oracene "Brandy" Price

Jon Bernthal as Rick Macci

Tony Goldwyn as Paul Cohen

Demi Singleton as Serena Williams

Mikayla Lashae Bartholomew as Tunde Price

Daniele Lawson as Isha Price

Layla Crawford as Lyndrea Price