Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Michael Fassbender as Cal Lynch / Aguilar
Marion Cotillard as Sofia
Jeremy Irons as Rikkin
Brendan Gleeson as Joseph Lynch
Charlotte Rampling as Ellen Kaye
All of the promise and hope for Assassin’s Creed just flittered away due to the confusing plot, underwhelming action and constantly repeating structure. Which just adds more weight to the curse of video game theory.
There will always be a point when the bit of leeway that you have given a film finally hits that edge and is replaced by hate. I managed to stick around for Assassin’s Creed as long as I was able to, especially since there is a lot to be admired about the as it finds its feet and then it just collapsed.
When I sat down, I was naively confident about this movie. Mostly because it brought actors Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender together with Justin Kurzel, who did so well on the newer version of Macbeth. There was a lot of hope that it would bring the same magnetism and flair to a big budget production like Assassin’s Creed. But, it just didn’t happen.
Who plays who?
In this movie, Michael Fassbender is playing two roles, the most important one being Callum “Cal” Lynch, who happens to be a criminal that has been saved from execution by Abstergo Industries, which is basically just a reincarnation of the Templar Order. Cal is forced to use the Animus, which is a machine that lets him relive memories of Aguilar while in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition. Every time that Cal uses the Animus, he begins to gain skills and knowledge that will be used to confront the Templars, who have been using him to map out where Aguilar has left a very important artifact that they are wanting to use for a supposed scientific breakthrough.
Let’s be honest, there is a real appeal to Assassin’s Creed. 20th century fox really was really interested, because it gives them a chance to get into the popularity of those who play the video game, while it kind of merges Game of Thrones and The Matrix together. Additionally, there is a bit of a complexity and richness to the story that lends itself to cinema, especially with the talent that is involved.
The only issue was that Assassin’s Creed never had the narrative backbone that would keep a moviegoer engaged, as the writers and director leave too little explained for you to actually become invested in the movie. To begin with, it is a plus, because it isn’t packed with a bunch of stuff that isn’t needed in a blockbuster. So, you give Assassin’s Creed the benefit of the doubt, and you want it to get up to speed on the more intricate details at a later time. For being an opening act, that works. As you set out during the movie, you will find yourself nodding in an approving manner at what has been offered.
Too much ambition
Kurzel has really embraced the ambition and scope of such a large production, providing a movie that is satisfying in action but in a sprightly way, while still being able to infuse it with a visceral style and moodiness. You can see this when Cal is flirting with death before being saved by Abstergo, while the scenes of Aguilar have a more sepia, misty toned color palette that has been injected with a real grittiness.
In each new location and setting from California to the Spanish Inquisition to Abstergo’s headquarters located in Madrid, each will have its own look and texture, and you will have the feeling that you have gained access to the new level. During the same time, Fassbender and Cotillard have teased additional depths. Which is kind of unfortunate that they dove into when you have long given up caring about the movie.
The beginning of this movies issue began in the first action scene. Although it isn’t all over the place, the continuity is really off, and what should be a fun statement of intent is really underwhelming and flat. Then you notice that every time Cal is placed in the Animus it is the same exact structure and then it becomes boring, while the action scenes while he is in there don’t get any better either.
What went wrong
The worlds of Cal and Aguilar never actually merge into good cinematic structure, and you don’t really get the sense of risks or repercussions of Cal using the Animus. During the Animus scenes, it has been pounded into our heads that Cal may die if he gets too into it, but the truth is that Assassin’s Creed is completely full of yearning that you know that Cal will be fine.
Then the needed explanation to make the movie move up a gear happens and it is just ridiculous, as it has tried to make it become the best thing in cinematic history, which just kills the integrity. This is because the characters in Assassin’s Creed keep boasting about the Animus Project being worth $3 billion and you are constantly shown how scientific it is.
For the last 40 minutes, you are just going to be in a daze as the final nail is placed into the coffin with a really chaotic finale that is incomprehensible, and not really that enjoyable. Once the credits begin to roll, you are just happy that it has ended and you will walk out trying to figure what just happened and where it has gone wrong before making up your mind that Assassin’s Creed just isn’t worth your time.