Having played every game in the main series, as well as some of the spinoff installments, I have some serious Assassin’s Creed bona fides, so you can trust me when I tell you the movie version is not even good fan service. It’s not like video-game movies open to high expectations; we all know what to expect. Still, Ubisoft would have been better off releasing another installment of the game rather than this limp adaptation, which eschews a multitude of tried and true heroes for Michael Fassbender’s bland, new Cal, who accesses the memories of his distant relative, Aguilar, via the Animus created by Marion Cotillard’s scientist, Sofia.
What the movie does crib from the game franchise is the centuries-long war between the Templars and the Assassins. The Templars, represented by Jeremy Irons, seek the Apple of Eden, a super-powerful relic protected by the Assassins and their creed. Its aesthetic says Assassin’s Creed: All the pointy hoodies, hidden blades and parkour look faithfully familiar. The story is just presented so boringly. It’s not like watching the game’s cutscenes is the best part.
Video-game movies will always suffer from the lack of interaction that games use to mask what can sometimes be a weak, or simply confusing, narrative. As a movie, Assassin’s Creed cannot rely on stellar gameplay to overcome its weaknesses, and the Oscar-bait cast, which also needlessly includes Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling, is a poor substitute. As a fan of the franchise, I hope for a sequel of the trashier VOD persuasion so we can all forget this flick ever happened.