Bright is the story of two Los Angeles police officers living in a world where mythical beasts co-exist with humans. Elves have become the upper class, while orcs are considered lesser beings and are shoved in ghettos. This is mainly because the orcs once chose to side with a being known as the “Dark Lord” over 2,000 years ago. The two main characters are a human named Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and an orc called Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton). Despite being a police officer, Jakoby is viewed as inferior by his peers who want him removed from the force. Nick is the first ever orc cop in all of America, so many believed he was hired simply for the sake of diversity. Daryl is especially jaded about being Nick’s partner after he believes Jakoby allowed him to get shot by a criminal orc.
The main plot revolves around Nick and Daryl showing up to a crime scene and discovering a magic wand. These items are considered extremely dangerous due to their ability to grant wishes to whoever uses it. However, only those called “Brights” can physically touch the wand and don’t need to wear protective gloves. If someone who isn’t a Bright makes physical contact with the wand they will explode. Upon discovering the wand, the two cops chase an elf woman from the crime scene named Tikka (Lucy Fry). After catching her, the duo learns that someone is coming for Tikka and the wand, however, before they can do anything four other cops show up.
The cops want Daryl to kill his partner so they can take the wand and use it for themselves. Ward goes outside to confront his partner, eventually learning that Nick was responsible for the person who shot Nick escaping. Instead of finding the perpetrator, Nick accidentally caught a young orc and realized that it wasn’t the suspect. However, since the cops would blame the kid for the crime, Nick helped him escape and saved the young orc’s life.
Daryl, realizing Nick’s actions were justified, finally protests the idea of killing Nick and kills the four dirty cops. After this, a squad of local gangsters show up looking for the wand, which results in a car chase that ends with the cops and Tikka barely escaping with the wand.
Meanwhile a group of elves – called the Inferni – show up at the crime scene and search for the wand. Their leader is called Leilah (Noomi Rapace) who turns out to be the actual owner of the wand and wants it back so she can raise the Dark Lord from the grave. In order to resurrect the Dark Lord, users need to have three different wands and it’s implied the Inferni have two. They discover that the wand is missing and pursue the cops hoping to find her wand. Daryl and Nick are eventually corned in a strip club by the gangsters, but before they are killed the Inferni show up and start slaughtering everyone. Our heroes escape once more and make their way to a gas station. Daryl then talks to the Magic Feds who explain that if he brings them the wand they can clear him of killing the cops.
Daryl agrees, but before the feds can show up the trio are attacked by the Inferni which results, once again, in the group escaping into an alley. However, the trios luck runs out when they are caught by an orc gang also looking for the wand. Dragged back to their hideout, Nick and Daryl are interrogated by the orc leader. Refusing to acknowledge that there even was a wand, the orc leader shoots Nick in the chest and kicks him down a really, really deep hole. Before Daryl is killed, Tikka produces the wand and brings Nick back from the dead. This scares the orcs and the group are able to flee into a nearby alleyway.
We then learn that Tikka is not only a Bright, but was also apart of the Inferni. She explains that Leilah cannot obtain the wand, but is quickly overcome by a mysterious infection. In order to save Tikka’s life, the cops need to bring her back to the crime scene and put her in a magical pool. Nick and Daryl argue about what’s right, but eventually, they agree to take her to the pool and try to keep Tikka from dying. When they arrive, the group is attacked by the Inferni one last time which ends with Leilah and her associates killed.
Daryl dips Tikka in the pool, but he is then attacked by Leilah who used her magic to stay alive. One final battle ensues where it’s revealed that Tikka and Leilah are sisters. Right before Leilah kills Tikka with the wand, Nick shoots her in the hand knocking it to the floor. Daryl then grabs the wand hoping to kill himself and Leilah in an explosion. Yet, Daryl doesn’t die and it turns out that he is actually a human Bright which is extremely rare. He uses the wand to kill Leilah, causing a massive explosion that engulfs the building in flames.
Nick escapes just as the feds arrive, but Tikka and Daryl are unaccounted for. Refusing to let his partner die, Nick charges back into the burning building and saves Daryl. Tikka is never found and the duo presumes that she’s dead. Nick then realizes that the orc gangsters watched him save Daryl from the street. The group of orcs finally acknowledge that Nick is a true orc and not a traitor for joining the police. Both men are treated for wounds and the wand is discovered and contained.
We then cut to a hospital where Daryl and Nick are questioned by the feds about what happened. Realizing that keeping their mouths shut is the best course of action, everyone agrees to never speak of the wand. The four corrupt officers killed, Daryl, and Nick are all commemorated for their bravery at a ceremony. Bright ends with Daryl spotting Tikka in the crowd proving that she is still alive despite vanishing during the fire. Nick never reveals that Daryl is a Bright and the wand is assumed to be in safe hands now.