There was a time that the Fourth of July weekend belonged to Will Smith and his box office might more than it did to all of the Founding Fathers. While the schedule hasn’t worked out for Smith in a few years, he remains one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and, whenever he appears next on the weekend of the Fourth, you can bet that there will be fewer fireworks going off. His films show why he is as close to a sure thing as there is at the box-office.
Will Smith saved the universe on-screen several times before he was able to headline a romantic comedy. His performance as a romantic expert who is unlucky in love makes all the imperiled worlds worth it.
Playing an alcoholic, cynical bum who happens to have superpowers is as against type as you could possibly cast Will Smith. But, his super charm still saves the world and the film.
For all of his appearances in big budget extravaganzas, it’s a welcome reminder that Will Smith can act in a serious drama. Smith’s channeling of the legendary boxer gives us pause to consider that it may take one of the greatest to play The Greatest.
7. I, Robot
Another film that casts Smith against the charming, wisecracking hero that he’s become known for playing, this sci-fi noir adapted from an Asimov novel reminds us not to mistreat our electronics, for they may one day get us.
6. I Am Legend
If you can be the only human on screen for most of the film and still be compelling, you know you’re doing something right. Smith delivers a performance that shows how the world falling apart doesn’t mean that he has to fall apart with it.
Here, Smith plays off Gene Hackman, who must have been recalling the similar themes of surveillance from his earlier film The Conversation.
4. Bad Boys
This action comedy, which paired him with Martin Lawrence, was Smith’s first big hit and proved that he knew how to be an action star.
Smith was nominated for an Oscar for his role as a homeless father driven by his love of his son, who was played by his real son Jaden.
2. Men in Black
Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith may seem an unlikely pairing, but the comic timing that both display make this film a sci-fi romp and solidified Smith’s ownership of July 4th.
1. Independence Day
If Bad Boys proved that Will Smith could star in an action movie, Independence Day proved that he could steal one. Smith broke through an ensemble cast and thus gave the aliens the warmest of welcomes to earth.
With Jaden Smith’s recent starring turn in the remake of the Karate Kid, Will may soon not be the biggest star in his own house. But, given his track record, there’s plenty of reason for confidence that this won’t remain the case for long.