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.