Not content with being the young Magneto, Michael Fassbender delivers an intense and dynamic performance as a character from one of the best known and beloved video games ever. Add to that the always flawless Marion Cotillard as Sofia, and powerful Jeremy Irons as her father Rikkin, and you have the makings of a faultless cast.
Sadly, the film itself possesses many faults.
Cal Lynch (Fassbender) is executed for murder but wakes up in a futuristic scientific research facility, where Sofia tells him he's a descendant of a line of Assassins. A brotherhood dedicated to preventing the power-hungry Templar Order from getting their hands on the Apple of Eden, wherein lies "man's first disobedience". Finding the Apple means being able to decode free will, which will allow the Templar to control mankind. And Sofia believes that in Cal's DNA is genetic memory that connects him to his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha, the last known person to know where the Apple is. Sofia wants to find the Apple to eradicate violence in the world.
Conceptually, the free will thing and genetic memory thing are quite fascinating, and, more importantly, plausible in our world of continual scientific advances. However, everything else about Assassin's Creed falls flat, and the storyline and characters' development are all too predictable.
The fight sequences, though visually stunning, quickly feels gratuitous. And the surprising believability of the science behind the plot is dulled by how unrelatable the characters are. Even the most fantastical of superhero movies nowadays are achored by very human emotions, but Assassin's Creed is full of characters who are entertaining, but not relatable. Most of us, hopefully, don't feel the need to kill our fathers for murdering our mothers; or the inclination to violence that comes from being part of a long bloodline of master killers.
Also, for a movie based on an incredibly engaging and fun video game, the movie seriously lacks humour. In its 115-minute run time, there are next to no laughs. Oh, wait ... there was one.
Lovers of the game will probably still love this film, and it is a fun way to spend a couple of hours if you're satisfied with beautiful action sequences and performances from Oscar-winning and -nominated master actors. However, for what it could have been, Assassin's Creed is one big missed opportunity to be something so much better.