Sits comfortably in a mixed-bag franchise.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise conquered the gaming world back when the Playstation 3 was released. To say every game has been a marvel would be blatantly incorrect though, as the more recent entries have been a total disappointment. This may have curbed the excitement for the first film a little, but for the fans, this is a huge moment. Is this the first video game adaptation that can be described as “good”? In a short answer; yes.
When Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is executed on death row, he wakes up in Abstergo Industries. There, he becomes part of a mission to find an ominous artefact called the Apple of Eden, importing him into the memories of his ancestor using a machine – the Animus.
For players of the games, the storyline is a breeze but for others not so much. They essentially track Callum’s DNA back centuries to his ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha, in the Spanish Inquisition. From there they can connect him back to that time, allowing him to relive Aguilar’s memories.
Now one of the big drawing points of the game, obviously, is the fighting and locations. One game puts you in Venice, stabbing soldiers and diving into the water. What isn’t so good are the moments in reality, a problem the film never recognises. A head-titltingly large portion of the film is spent in reality, where the tone never tipples seriousness and the colour palette is about as exciting as a cup.
The persistence on the grim, downbeat world only makes it more apparent how stupid the story actually is. How can we – and this includes the loyal fans – take a film focused on finding a mythical apple to heart? An occasional light touch was needed, instead all we get is the occasional, admittedly often darkly evoked grin from Fassbender.
Justin Kurzel comes into his own as we enter the chaotic Assassin’s world, with near perfect action sequences that capture the spirit of the franchise as well as give hope for the future. Signature parkour blended with brutal, expert choreography (particularly an arrow-off-the-wall shot) will widen the eyes and make you smile, although one can’t help but wonder why they aimed for a 12A rating despite the more mature content of the games. Mindless, if you ask me.
Fassbender gives his all despite a faulty character. We can never quite buy into Lynch’s backstory as most of it isn’t explained to us, however Fassbender’s general authoritative persona carries him along. Like Kurzel’s previous outing with Macbeth, Fassbender is paired with Marion Cotillard as the Abstergo’s lead scientist. Their relationship is potentially interesting, that is until one clean, puzzling leg sweep to the little curiosities comes along in favour of setting up a sequel.
To sum it up…
Despite a laughable plot, the dizzying, enthralling action found in the Creed‘s first feature outing excels it far above the past of game-to-film. Next time let’s spend more time with the Assassins rather than the dreary, nonsensical reality.
Rating: No bad
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Author: Cameron Frew