Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Kenneth Williams
Directed By: Justin Kurzel
Plot: Callum Lynch (Fassbender) is sentenced to death for murder, and wakes up again in an experimental program that wants to access his mind to see the memories of his ancestors. It is through this that he learns his bloodline is part of the Assassins, who have sworn to protect an ancient artifact from the Templars. Is it possible that Callum is leading them right to it?
What Works: To start, I’m fairly familiar with the franchise as a gamer. I’ve played a few of the games, though never beat any of them. That being said, I have a love-hate relationship with this film. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I didn’t. For example, I started out intrigued, which moved into me thinking the movie was getting silly, followed by me hating certain plot choices, then evolving back into me being intrigued again, and then me being impressed at the film being able to regain its footing in the end. I thought Fassbender did well with what he was given, as did the supporting cast. Also, the production design is good. The costume design is good. Also, this has to be the loudest movie I’ve seen in a long time, but it allowed me to really appreciate the sound design, which is something I usually gloss oer.
What Doesn’t Work: Sometimes, with a video game adaptation, you don’t have to do a literal interpretation of the plot. Honestly, I think the whole Animus thing takes away from what could have been an interesting story in 1492. But when we realize that Callum has no control over his ancestors actions, it’s like watching really long flashbacks. I think if the film had started with us in 1492, and not revealed the Animus portion until the end, it would have allowed the viewer to be invested in the 1492 storyline, instead of it feeling like filler. It takes up far too much of the film. It’s like watching an entire movie in flashbacks. I was bored, even though the action scenes were well choreographed. Also, films like this really shouldn’t plan for a sequel. You should try and focus on one contained story, and not setting up the sequel. You just look silly when the sequel doesn’t happen.
Final Word: Not a terrible film, but not a good one. It has things I like, and things I do’t like. Still, the love and care taken into how the film looks ends up pushing it a little into the positive side for me. I wouldn’t rush to see it in theatres, but visually, it is worth seeing in theatres if you’re planning on seeing it at all.
Final Grade: C+