Assassin’s Creed: Welcome To The Spanish Inquisition

Abstergo is a company that uses technology to unlock genetic memories. Their latest victim is Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender), who they force to experience the memories of his ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha (also Fassbender), in 15th Century Spain. Callum realises he is a descendant of a secret society called the Assassins and Templars. From the present day in 2016, he is given the knowledge and skills to take on the powerful and oppressive organization.

I was very nervous going into the screening of Assassin’s Creed as it had split fans of the games. Some hated but some loved it, whilst film critics took great pleasure in tearing this film limb from limb. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this film but it is by no means perfect but it does break the videogame movie curse. When it comes to movies like this, I think people expect too much and I think that’s why critics pan videogame movies. Assassin’s Creed is a good movie, not a great one.

Michael Fassbender plays Callum Lynch in Assassin’s Creed
(Assassin’s Creed, 20th Century Fox)

I have to be honest, I have never played a single Assassin’s Creed videogame in my life. In my view, it has broken the curse but critics will never be pleased and this is one of those movies that has split opinions far and wide. That’s the thing about opinions, everybody has one. If 2016 has taught me anything, it’s a critics opinion is not gospel. See Assassin’s Creed for yourself and make up your own mind instead of taking the advice of a paid critic. Taking the advice of such people is basically sapping the consumer’s need for independent thought.

Many have said that Assassin’s Creed first-timers will get confused with the plot. I was in the 1% that didn’t have that problem. The idea is not to “fuck up the timeline”, (thanks Barry) but to observe the past through an ancestor to find clues to assist in any modern-day tasks. Sofia Rikken (Marion Cotillard) is trying to find the Apple of Eden, a vital artefact designed by the Templars and Assassins. Due to this, the Animus (AC’s Matrix) scenes lack much background because only the Apple-centric scenes are viewed. If the origins story of Aguilar were necessary in locating the apple, it may as well have been a Aguilar-spinoff.

Sophia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard) in Assassin’s Creed
(Assassin’s Creed, 20th Century Fox)

On a deeper level, it dabbles in history and philosophy but most notably, it’s another film that is reviewing human nature as a construct. “The history of the world is the history of violence. Mankind seems intent on destroying itself.” says Proffesor Rikkin (Jeremy Irons). This quote begs the question, is he wrong? No, he’s not and that’s horrifying. As a species, human beings would rather wage war on each other for oil and minerals than work together for a better life and a better future. In essence, materialism not unity. It’s been like this for centuries and we don’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

The greatest thing about the film, like many blockbusters, is the action and fight choreography. It’s punchy, glamorous and exciting. Chase after chase, kill after kill…it’s well constructed and bloody fantastic. I saw Warcraft last year and now with Assassin’s Creed, this could be the turning point for videogame movies. As a standalone movie, it needs work but it is still very entertaining and I was engaged from start to finish. I’ve heard whispers of a trilogy and Justin Kurzel (Macbeth) is a good director. I wouldn’t be against the notion of a trilogy, if Kurzel was to tackle it. Kurzel, Fassbender and Cotillard (Allied) work well together and Assassin’s Creed works better as a franchise starter than a standalone feature.

Is this a terrible film? No, it’s not but it’s not perfect either. It’s an entertaining yet stimulating blockbuster movie. Michael Fassbender is this film’s special effect and a he is this movie’s most potent saving grace. I have yet to see a Fassbender performance that I don’t like. This is a good movie and it’s certainly worth the ticket price, but I won’t judge you if you wait for the digital download.

Time well spent

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