When Callum Lynch saw his mother die at the hands of his father, his life was never the same again. Years later, Lynch is in death row and scheduled to be executed, but he woke up a facility in Madrid, Spain where a woman who introduced herself as Sophia Rikkin told him they needed his past to find an end to violence. Lynch does not know anything about the conflict of the Assassins and the Templars.
Aguilar de Nerha was an ancestor of Lynch believed to have been the last person to possess an Apple of Eden. He and other assassins were supposed to protect the Prince Ahmed of Granada from becoming a pawn by Tomas de Torquemada to force Sultan Muhammad XII to surrender the Apple.
|Callum Lynch wakes up at Abstergo after he was executed|
|Lynch at the Abstergo facility in Spain|
|Lynch's ancestor Aguilar de Nerha|
|Aguilar trapped by Templars|
The movie is a great addition to the Assassin’s Creed lore. I think it was a good idea that they created a new character instead of choosing one of the lead characters in the series. Fan service would have been good, but it’s a double-edged sword. Either the fans would like it or not, and I'm pretty sure there would be a lot of complaints.
One thing I enjoyed about the film was its focus on the modern Assassins and Templars. Though some of the arch was covered in the game series and other media, its relevance has almost ceased to exist when Desmond Miles died in AC III. Although I would have loved to see more action during the Spanish Inquisition period, I don’t see any merit in extending that sequence. The mission was quite clear to me. They did it justice by showing action-packed sequences blended seamlessly with Lynch synchronizing with Aguilar in the Animus.
There are a few points in the film however that made it less friendly to viewers without prior knowledge of the series. First, you can’t cram everything into two hours to explain everything about the series. They only covered a few important parts and didn’t even mention the conflict with the First Civilization. It did explain however how the animus was supposed to work. But first-timers will need to pay close attention to piece everything together. For gamers however, no new insight was given to how it works although the new model looks quite nice when you see how it’s supposed to work. Instead of explaining synchronization (like completing all the conditions in a mission) they showed how it’s done by letting Lynch act out the action sequences.
Lynch’s progress however mirrors Desmond’s experience with using the Animus. In fact, his capture and confinement was almost similar to Desmond's experience in the first game. He progressed quickly to experiencing the Bleeding Effect. The Apple of Eden was also explained although there’s still a lot of mystery to those objects. Those points stayed true to the game.
Beginners might also wonder about Sophia’s decision near the end of the film. The result however is not so different from the games. No wonder why some assassins become templars and vice versa.
If you’re already familiar with the lore however, you’d pay more attention to new things and finding Easter eggs. Pay close attention to the items on display in the background and the descriptions of the ancestors of some of the people confined in the facility.
In the end, you will come to realize that the conflict between the Assassins and Templars isn’t as simple as who gets to dominate the world. They have the same goals but different means, another point you’d come to realize while playing the game if you’re paying attention to more than just the assassinations.
There are so many more things I wanted the movie to show because it has only scratched the surface. But I enjoyed the ancestor sequences because they were able to squeeze in a lot of action. They showed that the Assassins were not the regular superheroes. They can make mistakes and pay with their lives. And that even Templars had noble missions and made statements that made sense.
I liked how they included a chariot chase (seems like Ubisoft loves this type of scene so much), the leap of faith (although they cut them too short), an escape scene just before they were burnt at the stake and an air assassination. One reason why the Prince of Persia movie failed for me is because they showed too little action sequences reminiscent of the game. Then again, Prince of Persia had a story that's pretty simple to explain. Assassin's Creed is a bit more complicated than that.
You can write off the series as shallow but it’s quite enjoyable for its historic references and beautiful settings. The movie is a great addition, no matter what the critics say. I think the production had newcomers in mind while shooting the film but I think it was made for fans. I’m hoping for a sequel that will surpass the first and tell us more about the modern world and maybe hint at what will happen with the issue of the First Civilization.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Directed by Justin Kurzel
Producers: Jean-Julien Baronnet
Screenplay: Michael Lesslie
Music: Jed Kurzel
Cinematography: Adam Arkapaw
Edited by Christopher Tellefsen
Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch and Aguilar de Nerha
Marion Cotillard as Sophia Rikkin
Jeremy Irons as Alan Rikkin
Maria Labed as Maria
Brian Gleeson and Brendan Gleeson as Joseph Lynch
Denis Menochet as McGowen
James Sobol Kelly as Father Raymond
Charlotte Rampling as Ellen Kaye
Michael K. Williams as Moussa
Matias Varela as Emir
Michelle Lin as Lin