Assassin’s Creed is not some comic book movie, rather it is a video game movie, and those are usually compelling. There are several things that Assassin’s Creed does exceptionally well. Hiring Michael Fassbender (Cal Lynch) and Marion Cotillard (Sofia), two of the hottest actors in the universe to play the two central roles was a grand idea, and it is what saves the movie from total obscurity. Assassin’s Creed is something more than an ordinary movie but I cannot anoint it one of the year’s best. It just so happens to have arrived in theaters in time for awards consideration, but it deserves little if any accolades.
In Assassin’s Creed, Fassbender portrays the descendant of Assassin Aguilar who lived by a certain creed/code. The order of the Assassins (mind you, I am not a devotee of the video game so please bear with me) believed in preserving freedoms of the mind, body and soul. They railed against the Templars (medieval knights), who in this case sought to obtain the secret to eliminating violence and aggression by way of destroying and sacrificing freewill. The two orders became deadlocked in a struggle that often involved acrobatic chases on the tower tops, death-defying struggles, and of course, tragic assassinations on both sides.
Fast forward 500-600 years and the two orders are still waging war against one another, only the tables have turned. Now, rather than having certain advantages over the Templars, the Assassins have become the Templars’ prisoners and have been bereft of their willpower and fighting spirit. The descendants of the original order are held captive so that Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), and Sofia (Cotillard) can utilize their technological advancement, the “Animus,” to recreate the past to lead them to the orb they have coveted for half a millennium.
Ultimately, Assassin’s Creed is a storyline driven movie that attempts to tell the tale of the struggle for a fundamental human freedom, even if that liberty leads to constant violence and disorder. The previews are a scintilla misleading because there is far more dialogue than action, and the action scenes are rather hackneyed and predictable even if really well choreographed. The partnership of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard felt forced. They gave it everything they had, and they have supreme talent, but someone Assassin’s Creed feels as though it would have been better served without the best actors in the world trying to convert a video game story into some immortal epic attempting to win awards.