Sound Off! Assassin’s Creed

Welcome back to Sound Off!, a semi-regular column where members of Speculative Chic gather together to chat about the latest BIG THING in entertainment. This time, one brave soul hopped into the Animus to discuss Assassin’s Creed, which premiered in the United States on Wednesday, December 21st, 2016.

Sound Off! is (usually) meant to be a group of reactions, but not necessarily a review. After all, while we are all individuals, even mutual love of something (or hate) can come from different places. You may find everything from critique to fangirling to maybe even hate-watching, but it’s safe to say that if you haven’t yet seen Assassin’s Creed and you read this post and its comments, you WILL be spoiled in some form or fashion.

Now, please join J.L. Gribble as she talks about Assassin’s Creed!

J.L. Gribble: Full disclosure: I’ve only played (most of) Assassin’s Creed II, so while I have a general idea of the premise of this video game series, I’m not a die-hard fan. I saw this movie pretty specifically to enjoy Michael Fassbender being attractive and shirtless. This primary goal was achieved, and everything else was just a bonus. This wasn’t a terrible movie, and it wasn’t even a terrible video game movie, but I sat through the credits wondering why I was supposed to care about anything I had just watched.

The good news is that this movie is just like the video game. The action-packed historical sequences are visually stunning, and the street chase scene halfway through the film is a brilliant representation of what actually playing the game is like (only without falling to your death every 5 minutes, which is what playing the game was like for me). There was plenty of combat to satisfy any action film fan, and I appreciated the change made to the Animus apparatus, because watching Fassbender swing around on a metal arm is much more interesting than having him lie on a table to enter the Animus, as it is in the game.

However, the bad news is also that this movie is just like the video game. By focusing just on the Callum Lynch/Aguilar character, so much opportunity was lost to explore the other assassins in the film who are relegated to two-dimensional supporting characters. The Assassin/Templar feud over the free will of humanity is such a sprawling story that the film did itself disservice by focusing on a recreation of the video game rather than expanding the universe. It didn’t help that this lack of expansion ended up making the Assassin/Templar feud all but incomprehensible to people who hadn’t played the game, and I even found myself wondering what the hell the characters were talking about halfway through some of the dialog sequences.

I actually walked into the theater prepared to be outraged about the white-washing of Aguilar by having Michael Fassbender also play his “past” self. In the end, so little character development occurs in the past that it was hard to be irritated by anything so specific considering what a disappointment the movie as a whole was.

The story very clearly sets up the opportunity for a sequel, but even though Assassin’s Creed II is the game that I’m familiar with, I have little interest in peeking into Callum Lynch’s past as Ezio when this first film has already wasted so much potential.


  • Nancy O'Toole Meservier December 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    As much as I enjoy Michael Fassbender, I skipped out on this one, having already been disappointing in one video game adaptation this year- Warcraft. It’s interesting, because I felt like faults you mentioned here were also present in Warcraft. Cool visuals, but their insistence on sticking so close to the original game ended up being its downfall. I’m all for authenticity and loyalty to the source material- it’s a big part of why we got three fabulous Lord of the Rings films- but it needs to be a good movie, first and foremost.

    • steelvictory December 29, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      I couldn’t bring myself to watch the Warcraft movie because I knew nothing on screen would live up to what I spent years (literally) of my life playing.

  • Shara White October 8, 2017 at 10:30 am

    So my husband and I finally just watched this. I think I would agree with all of your points. More so that I don’t think if you aren’t familiar with the game (I watched my husband play the first, second, and maybe third games obsessively, so I’m super familiar with gameplay and the story), I’m not sure you can really track what’s happening and why. Maybe you can, but everything felt super thin. It IS such a sprawling story that this idea would be better served as a well-funded television series (HBO, anyone?) rather than a slapdash Hollywood film.

    And yeah…. the casting. I get why Hollywood cast Fassbender (you point it the reasons perfectly!) but I really wish they’d gotten someone who legitimately looks like he’s got Spanish ancestry, and I hated how when he was surrounded by his own ancestors, THEY ALL LOOKED LIKE HIM. Lazy casting, lazy writing.

    And why did Sophia keep losing credit for her work and that credit being given over to her father, because he was funding it? LAZY WRITING.


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