In ‘Assassin’s Creed’, Michael Fassbender plays Callum Lynch, a career criminal who has been sentenced to death for a recent murder he has committed.
Little does Callum know that his execution was a cover by Abstergo Industries, a shadowy corporation run by Alan Rikkin (Jeremy Irons).
In a project led by Alan’s daughter Sophia (Marion Cotillard), Callum is placed in a machine called the Animus in order to place him in the mind of his ancestor Aguilar, an assassin during the Spanish Inquisition. It is hoped by Abstergo that following Callum in his past life will lead them to the Apple Of Eden – an artefact protected by the Assassins, and the believed source of freewill – and use it to cure violence.
This much of the plot of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ was about as much as I could understand. The film doesn’t feature much in the way of why anyone is doing anything, from why Abstergo want to eradicate violence to why the Assassins are protecting the apple.
Everyone within the Abstergo building seems to speak in riddles, leaving audiences to think this is some kind of Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare.
Sophia seems so used to creating puzzles out of explanations, that it takes two separate scenes for her to finally comprehend Callum’s pleas for food.
Normally moral ambiguity is enough to spark some intrigue, but ‘Assassin’s Creed’ even causes confusion with that by making it incredibly hard to tell not only who is good or bad, but also what anyone’s motivation is.
In a film which audiences shouldn’t relate to, the only thing anyone can understand is when Callum exclaims in his gruff voice, “What the fuck is going on?!”
The parts which do have some form of excitement are when Callum is plugged up to the Animus. Through this Matrix-esque machine, Callum becomes the assassin Aguilar, who glides and crawls across the rooftops of 15th century Spain.
The action sequences are marvellous to watch, with a parkour-inspired chase being a highlight. However, these sequences don’t really fit in with the overall film, only acting as a break for audiences from trying to solve the enigma of a plot.
In the end, ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is a plotless mess that not even the performances of its leads can save. Never has there been a film I’ve wished for someone to state the obvious so that I can understand why I should care about anyone or thing.
‘Assassin’s Creed’ just shows that video game companies wishing to expand into film should watch their comic-book counterparts’ films more closely.
1.5 out of 5 confused Michael Fassbenders.