Assassin's Creed is the best video game film adaptation ever made, which isn't saying anything. Video game adaptations has been going through a very bad streak of mediocre productions throughout the years. (No, Resident Evil is absolute shit! It has nothing to do with the games except the names.) With Assassin's Creed, everyone was riding on hope that it would break the curse of bad film adaptations down the years, the casting was some of the best of the year (Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons lead the star-studded film), but despite the actors' best efforts, the movie still suffered.
However, even the worst of the worst films have its moments. There are always some positives here and there in Assassin's Creed, but it never came into full package. As a big fan of the video games, I would like to offer what went wrong with the film, and what went right.
What I Like
Assassin's Creed Lore
With the movie came from inputs of the developers themselves, the thing that got it right is the universe itself. The feel of the secret war of the Templars and Assassins, the leap of faith, hidden blade, Abstergo, costumes and many more are on point in this film. The period of 1400s during the Spanish Inquisition was probably the best part of the film, the colour palette was right, the setting was immersive. It makes me want to experience the Spanish Inquisition.
The stunt works in the film is great, you can see obviously the choreographers put up great effort to make sure the parkour, leap of faith and the fight scenes are very well planned. It feels like the video games where the player is doing all the actions of the main character, but at a much frantic pace than the game, which is a good thing.
What I Didn't Like
Too Much Modern Day Jargon
Ask any Assassin's Creed fan on what's their favourite aspects of the game series, 90% of them would say visiting the history with unique characters interacting with key historical figures. Producers of this film must be thinking, let's go learn about the present day story more. That's the part of the game where players are itching to go back to the past! Yes, the modern day sci-fi setting is worth exploring, but not 70% of the whole damn movie! The audiences don't need to be constantly reminded by Dr. Sofia Rikkin about finding the Apple of Eden and Modern Templar Order wanting to find it.
Underdeveloped, or Never-Developed Characters
The game universe has featured some great characters, Ezio Auditore, Desmond Miles, Lucy Stillman, Altair, Edward Kenway, Leonardo Da Vinci. However, the film has no good characters, almost all of the characters are basically single-layered, which is kinda sad really when you have talents of Michael Fassbender, Marion Cottilard, Jeremy Irons leading the faces of the movie. They are some of the great actors of modern cinema, but somehow their talents are underused in this movie. Not to mention the ancient Assassin Maria, barely spoke and the audience hardly knew her, kinda amazed that Ubisoft actually bothers to give her a name even though she hardly featured.
Supplement to the Games Formula
As this movie is set in the Assassin's Creed games universe, so this obviously meant that the audiences need to understand the whole Assassins vs Templars war. However, it is poorly executed, some of the details left some audiences in my theatre gasping "Why the hell did they do this or that?!" the whole freaking time, even though me and my friends, who played the games, have no problems with the understanding of the movie. Then, there are moments where some of the characters giving pointless full exposition of their motivations and characters regarding some of the film plot. This makes the movie unsurprising and lack of any good mysteries to explore.
I am a huge fan of Assassin's Creed, I have played almost every single Assassin's Creed games released on consoles thus far. I enjoyed moments from the movie, but as the whole package it falls apart. I was hoping Assassin's Creed would give video game franchises a proper respect. I mean, Assassin's Creed has such a big potential for film adaptation, good premise, interesting characters and good twist to human history for the audience, yet it still doesn't hold up. The film itself certainly has the recipe right, but it did not mix them well. I'm pretty sure there are some ways video game adaptation could work. I guess The Last of Us and Uncharted are the next beacon of hope.