First Impressions: Assassin’s Creed (2016)

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The upcoming Assassin’s Creed will be the fourth video game film to be released theatrically in a year that has proven to be quite big for this sub-genre. While neither Warcraft or Angry Birds did much to argue for how “good” these movies can be (Ratchet & Clank came and went), they did become the two highest grossing video game movies of all time. Assassin’s Creed may or may not reach similar heights, but the film at least has a promising look to it so far.

The Michael Fassbender, starring historical action film with a science fiction twist debuted last May and there have been various trailers/images and behind-the-scenes features since then. Today the nice people at 20th Century Fox decided that they were finished promoting X-MEN related stuff and drop the final trailer for Assassin’s Creed.

In case you don’t know the film will use brand-new characters created specifically for this film. It is still set within the gaming universe. The synopsis so far goes a little something like this: “Callum Lynch (Fassbender), discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society through unlocked genetic memories that allow him to relive the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th century Spain. After gaining incredible knowledge and skills he’s poised to take on the oppressive Knights Templar in the present day.”

From the earlier trailers, we now know that Lynch is supposed to be executed but instead finds himself spirited away by Sophia Rikkin (Marion Coltillard), who works for the suspicious Abstergo Industries, a front for the Templars. In short: Assassins good, Templars bad. Both secret societies have been around for literally ages, stabbing and slicing each other to bits in a never-ending dance to the death or should probably be aware of some general points around the games’ lore to prep yourselves for some time-travelling insanity.

What sends Lynch back into the past is the “Animus”, a device that allows him to experience his “ancestral memories” and discover the location of the Macguffins that both the Templars and the Assassins are after: all-powerful artefacts called “Pieces of Eden”. 100% the film’s plot will hinge on finding these ancient doodads too or aliens.

A handy side effect to using the Animus to access your ancestors’ memories is the ability to run and jump and stab just like great-great-granddaddy Lynch used to, thanks to a phenomenon called “The Bleeding Effect”. This explains the second part of the synopsis above, where Fassbender kicks ass in the present day. Perhaps unbelievably, one of the skills modern-day characters in the Assassin’s Creed gaming franchise acquire is “Eagle Vision”: an ability that allows you to see the world in a blue-and-white, detective-like way that highlights things like bad guys behind walls and all-important footprints on the ground.

The newest teaser for the Assassin’s Creed movie shows off more of the film’s ensemble and the high-tech Abstergo penitentiary/research lab that apparently holds people against their will. The glimpses at present-day stuff are nice, but the big appeal of Assassin’s Creed is that the games are historical period pieces. Historical period pieces where you run around neck-stabbing people, yes, but historical period pieces nonetheless.

This new trailer has a bit more footage of Fassbender running around in the Spanish Inquisition, but it also has much more footage of the present, which seems to be where all the story lies. The scenes in the past seem to be solely about running, jumping, and killing people. It still makes us worry that the overwhelming majority of the Assassin’s Creed movie is going to take place in the present, which, again, is not what people enjoy the franchise for. Unless Fox is planning on showing that stuff when we least expect it.

Assassins Creed comes your way December 2016

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