The film adaptation of the popular video game series Assassin’s Creed premiere last December and landed with a thud. The film had a reported budget of $125 million but only pulled in $54 million domestic and limped to $240 million worldwide. That’s not anywhere close to good enough to get a sequel, and star/producer Michael Fassbender thinks he knows where the adaptation went astray.
“For sure, it wasn’t ideal. I think we missed an opportunity there a little bit. So we’ll wait and see what Ubisoft are coming up with. But right now I don’t know,” Fassbender said. “I would make it more entertaining, that’s really the main note. The feeling of the film, I think it took itself too seriously and I would get to the action a lot quicker. I think there’s three beginnings of the film, which is a mistake.”
He’s certainly right that the film is dead serious and the three beginnings. There’s a prologue set in 1942, then there’s another prologue where a son discovers that his father has killed his mother, and then there’s the main character about to be executed on death row. By that point, you’re already exhausted and the story hasn’t even begun.
What’s frustrating about Assassin’s Creed is you can see the shape of a better movie within its confines. As I pointed out on The Collider Podcast, a better story would have had Fassbender’s character not as a convicted murderer but as a normal guy who’s kidnapped by Abstergo and forced to use the animus. But, the more he uses the animus and plays out his memories of being an assassin, the more addicted he becomes to it. The film could function as a sly commentary on the addictive nature of video games and how it lets us take on personas we wouldn’t normally have in our daily lives.
Instead, it’s a dull conspiracy thriller interspersed with some neat action scenes and gorgeous cinematography. As for Fassbender, it’s a shame it didn’t work out, but he’ll be fine. He has another potential franchise on the way with The Snowman, which opens next Friday.