This review contains mild spoilers
It’s so unfortunate to find Assassin’s Creed falls short of many great expectations. Despite Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, The Lights Between Ocean) looks appealingly fit as the reincarnation of a Creed’s ancestor, many elements miss to hit. Assassin’s Creed fails the mission to lead video game movie adaptation into spotlight, following Warcraft (2015) which was severely beaten by critics.
The story developed for this live-action format is too thin that the climax feels like an exaggeration. The details of matter the plot develops can’t live up the climax but turns it so disoriented and dull instead, opposing the interesting backstory of Callum Lynch (Fassbender) shown earlier. Lynch is a new character specially created for the movie, thus brings us much curiosity about his origin. Watching his character develops from a troubled teen to a prisoner on death row, from a pronouncedly dead man to a man being reborn in order to travel back his memories, we expect to see him not only as a pioneer as called but also a revolutionist for the plot to reach a higher level. Too bad we don’t see such thing coming.
Despite his prime physical appearance, Fassbender’s other qualities are wasted. Worse, Marion Cottilard (Inception, Macbeth, Allied) whose gestures appear very convincing as Sophia Rikkin, is given an ambiguous feature instead. It’s not her ability to play scientific or engage with Fassbender’s Lynch we doubt, it’s the motive her character gives her so weak to help the plot get straight. Proving that top-notch cast can’t support much on this area, Assassin’s Creed affirms that this genre should forget depending solely on the gameplay formula.
Thin Story, Unessential Plot
As much as the movie is designed to appear as a reality version of the Ubisoft‘s video game, as much as the audience want to feel every element, not only physical contact but also emotion of the characters, real. First things first is to let the audience learn and understand the origin of both parties in war and the background of their clash. Later is to add organized series of impulse to the original materials as an added value for which audience can engage deeper despite their unfamiliarity with the game. Unfortunately, many including Assassin’s Creed fails to deliver the essentials and nevertheless only looks promising up front.
Reteaming up with his Macbeth’s co-star, Fassbender’s Lynch is much helped especially during the Animus machine scenes. Cotillard helps his Lynch looks necessarily fragile and gives him a subtle difference with his ancestor, Aguilar. The self-fulfilling prophecy mission is the fate Lynch must go through but it’s his free will, if not Leap of Faith, which leads him take in the fate, something which Rikkin has expected and encouraged comes naturally during the Animus process.
Cotillard’s Rikkin is sympathetic despite the fact that she’s actually a Templar incarnation. She’s strict with her research and its goal yet still moderate about the impact of any abusive consumption. But it’s her reluctance whether the artefact of war, Apple of Eden, will carry out more violence or peace, brings her stand between Assassins and Templars. Particularly, her own father (Jeremy Irons’s Alan Rikkin) whom she’s being dilemmatic with, a family conflict seemingly occurs.
However, a Sequel Is Anticipated
Assasins’s Creed comes up with a result we were not expecting. But unlike its failed predecessors, we sense a sequel is worth anticipated and probably might exceed our next expectation. The video game has so many great cool elements to be adopted by the movie, especially the centurial war landscape and those free and stylish movements. With enhanced on paper materials, the duet of Fassbender and Cotillard also promise something greater and unpredictable since both acting features have never failed us so far.
With such ending for the first installment, many speculations as well as possibilities available for the next story development. The apple war will exist to guide and synchronize any new materials taken in. And with Lynch later likely has recalled his past completely, he no longer unconsciously co-exists with his memory but internalizes inside it instead, hints a more deadly battle his Aguilar never imagined before. However, until that glorious day arrives, this warm-up act isn’t yet forgiven.
Directed by: Justin Kurzel
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson
Duration: 116 mins