Step aside, Mortal Kombat. There’s a new king in town.
Be honest. You doubted whether Assassin’s Creed was going to live up to the hype. You’ve been there before. You’ve played the game and you loved it. The trailers make the movie look like it’s going to be half decent. Then, flop.
Yes, we’ve all been there with gaming movies and whilst one or two have been watchable or even enjoyable, not one has really hit the spot. At least, not until now.
I see my fair share of movies and I often leave the cinemaplex with the satisfaction that I’ve been entertained. Assassin’s Creed gave me that feeling but it didn’t JUST entertain. The fact that I got goosebumps more times than I can remember is testament to just how good this movie is. You know why it’s so good? It stuck to the source material faithfully without deviating, without a secondary purpose.
I won’t lie, if you’ve played the games and loved them as much I do you’ll be at a distinct advantage. Not because you won’t understand what’s going on but because you’ll have played through similar scenes via your console since 2007. Seeing those scenes come to life on the big screen was nothing short of breath taking.
The scenes of regression that Fassbender’s Callum Lynch takes us to are played out at breakneck speed full of the juicy historical settings we’ve come to expect. Indeed, Assassin’s Creed has never been afraid to tackle the horrors of human history and the movie follows that path as it tackles elements of the Spanish Inquisition.
The terrors committed during this era help us to see how evil the Templar Order is and whilst it’s a simple trick, it works and you root for the Assassin’s from the outset (not that it was ever in doubt).
As Lynch dives into his ancestral past, we see all the familiar cloudiness of the games before an eagle serves to remind us that we’re watching Assassin’s Creed. Again, it’s simple but it made me smile like a 5 year old every time.
It’s not enough to simply get the setting right though. For a movie to be a real success you need a strong cast and that was present across the board. Be under no illusions, Fassbender is the main event and as always, he does a stand up job. Special praise needs to go to Marion Cotillard and the wonderful Jeremy Irons though. They don’t have a huge amount to do but they play their parts to perfection, meaning that every action and every word spoken is believable.
Unfortunately though, like any true Assassin’s Creed game, the movie does have one or two minor flaws that see it miss out on top marks.
Some parts of the movie felt a little rushed, one scene had something hammed in that was either a nod to gamers or over explanation for viewers new to the franchise and an action or epiphany towards the end still needs a little explaining. Considering how I felt as I left the cinema though, they’re more than forgivable.
The only other thing I’m struggling with is the movie’s balance. It felt slightly off from what fans would want to see but in saying that, it’s left me satisfied whilst salivating at the thought of more. On that logic, it’s smart storytelling.
Put it this way. I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed so much I don’t feel that this review has done it justice. So just go and see it. You won’t regret it.
4* - How d’you like them apples?