“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”
Even liking a film that so far has taken a complete pummelling.
Assassin’s Creed is not the train-wreck you may have been lead to believe. It has problems but it also has bright points.
My relationship with the games is mixed. The first game passed me by completely. Then there was Ezio and some of my favourite games. This was followed by an extremely boring time spent with AC3 which led to me leaving the series. Ubisoft continued to pump out the games on a yearly basis with mixed results. But now the yearly cycle has been slowed down and the series doesn’t appear to be the AAA events they once were. Perhaps if the film had come out in the series’s heyday it may have had more joy.
The games have had a lot of time to work out the kinks and they seemingly still haven’t managed it. So to expect a film to get anywhere near perfection in under two hours is unreasonable. That’s not to excuse the mistakes the film makes. I’m just giving you an idea of how I’m looking at it.
If you want to see live action Assassin’s taking on the Templar then you’re in luck. The free running, hidden blade wielding good guys are superbly shown off here. Fassbender’s physicality is a great match, as is his intensity. The film’s re-imagination of the Animus (the device allowing us to see the past) is an improvement on the game. It just needed to be shoved in our face a little less. The costumes, weapons and overall style is just right. Taking on a different time frame from the games is cool too, as it takes all the features and gives them new surroundings to look good in, though it does get a bit too shaky at points. I’d have liked to have seen more story in the past, but as much as people may wish it we can’t have the entire two hours set in the past. I always found the present day parts of the games awful and just wanted to be Ezio again. The film is never that bad.
Assassin Aguilar isn’t the main character; modern day Callum Lynch is. Once you get your noggin around that I think the film improves. It can’t help exposition machine Cotillard or her awful costumes though. If all you’d seen of her was this and The Dark Knight Rises you’d wonder what the fuss was about.
Granted, if I didn’t know Assassin’s Creed, and in particular Ezio’s trilogy, the film could be confusing. But I have! I got to see the eagle. I saw the Bleeding Effect. I saw hidden blades and leaps of faith. I’m content. I just hope we get to see more in the future. There’s potential to improve on a shaky but still entertaining beginning here.