Assassin's Creed full movie review - Da Vinci Code Meets Action and Sci-Fi
Basically, this movie is based on earliest Assassin's Creed games... with minor changes, and the movie adaptation is a action-adventure, less-deep version of the "Da Vinci Code" series, but involving two groups fighting each over for 500 years... the battle unexpectedly resumes in the present-day.
Apart from the stunning visuals (more on that below), the movie's plot, if you have the patience, actually leads somewhere, despite some complaints. It features a criminal named "Callum Lynch" who was sentenced to death for murdering someone, but his death penalty was a cover-up to be subjected to a secret experiment run by "Sofia"... and a "new life and identity" in exchange.
Sofia made it sound like her facility were testing out a machine that could help Callum look back to his ancestor's past in the Muslim Spain, "Al-Andalus" (AKA "Andalusia"), 500 years ago. Thus, a type of time machine that lets you travel back into one's ancient mind. She says that this is essential in knowing why mankind is so violent, and aims to cure it.
Thus, the plot is divided into two: 500 years ago, and the present day, as the movie goes back and forth between the two.
500 years ago, a group of "Assassins", those game characters wearing the iconic hoods and hidden assassination tools, were appointed to steal back an ancient artifact called the "Apple of Eden", an ancient artifact that is believed to be the source that caused mankind's disobedience and free will against God Almighty... or at least in theory. This mission, as the plot expands, was essential because the Christian group, the "Templars", were in the process of destroying Al-Andalus... basically anything Muslim or "heretic", and kidnapping Sultan Muhammad's son to force his father to give up the Apple of Eden. Thus, it was revealed that Sultan Muhammad hired the Assassins from the start, foreseeing this scenario.
The lead assassin, Aguilar, Callum's ancestor, and a female member were proactive in saving the prince, but failed and were about to be burned alive, then escaped to get to the Sultan by the time the Templars did. Aguilar barely escaped, but successfully assigned others to keep the Apple of Eden in a safe location.
There, we return back to the present day. Throughout the movie, Callum is made to believe that his goal is to look back at his ancestor's time to better understand why mankind is so open to being violent in nature, and how that can be cured. (Thus, understandably, this gets us to see Callum's father who is also transferred to the same facility, with Callum being tested to see if he'd kill his father for murdering his mother thirty years ago.) But, as time passes, and the other prisoners at the facility, having sort of introduced themselves as descendants of past "Assassins", are increasingly becoming hostile towards Callum, accusing him of potentially making a bad decision by the last minute. But, having overtaken security officials and the facility, with fighting techniques and stolen weapons, they are proved wrong when Callum actually begins to realize that Sofia and her father, a pastor and owner of the said facility, are themselves descendants of the Templars... using Callum all that time to know where the Apple of Eden is!
Having realized that the 500-year-old fight for the Apple of Eden just resumed, Callum and the new generation of Assassins follow Sofia and her father to London where the modern Templars celebrated the potential fall of the Assassins, and the possession of the Apple of Eden... without anticipating Callum assassinating the pastor, and stealing back the Apple of Eden. Sofia obviously blames herself, since it was her experiments that made Callum realize what he was used for by the end, while mastering his ancestor's fighting techniques, even by fighting an hallucination form of him... much to security and the said pastor's concerns.
Probably, the only problem I had with the movie's story is the ending. After the assassination, we get to see the new assassins on a roof top at a long distance from the Templars' venue, then Callum deciding to fall off a roof. Then, the movie ends, with little to no hints of a new movie; not even a cliffhanger.
Another strong point of the movie is the visuals. From Callum's childhood days in Mexico to Al-Andalus, there is a heavy use of the yellow color filter, which I think adds to the charm of the overall presentation of the desert areas.
The CGI, especially the time-traveling mind machine, and its computer UIs, looked amazing, even the back-and-forth shots between Callum and his ancestor, Aguilar, simultaneously, demonstrating what Callum sees and experiences from Aguilar's missions and escapes. I also liked that Callum and Aguilar, not only are relatives, are played by the same actor, Michael Fassbender.
The music, although sounding almost like Kayne West's soundtrack, weren't terrible to listen to, and I think they unlikely, although out of place in games, gave the movie a unique identity. The only one I hated was at least the first song in the credits. Sounded like noise.
To conclude, it turns out that, like "WarCraft" before it, "Assassin's Creed" the movie has become another divisive video game movie. Some people like I enjoyed it, others didn't. From what I'd seen, and heard, the only solution is just watch the movie to see if it'd be something that you'd like. Personally, the plot develops slower, but less-rushed... thus better, than "WarCraft", that, despite liking the previous film, I actually liked this one better. Even for non-fans and non-gamers, the characters should be easier to be familiar with, along with the plot and conflicts. If you like something "Da Vinci Code", but with a bit of action-adventure, and Sci-Fi, I recommend you watch this movie.