I went to see Assassin's Creed with my son - he said it was "sick" so I guess that's a sign of approval in youth parlance. Personally, I have never played the game, although the trailer and premise intrigued me enough to want to see it. Story-wise, it was amusing to have a rather fanciful plotline played completely straight and devoid of irony. Even Michael Fassbender jokingly said on Graham Norton's chat show that he didn't have a clue what it was about! Constant talk of the coveted Apple of Eden being the genetic key to controlling humanity and freewill - all with a straight face and absolute sincerity. In some ways, Assassin's Creed is reminiscent of Christian Bale's Equilibrium (especially in relation to impressive action sequences but more on that later). The director and stars (Fass and Cottilard) did Macbeth prior to Assassin's Creed, so maybe some of that has carried over.
The plot can be taken at face value; there are no hidden layers or depths, although some of the characters' back stories and motivations are never really explored but just merely hinted at. The tech used to link the past and present is rather far fetched, but it's no more OTT than, for example, the face swapping procedure in Face/Off. Allow yourself to go with the flow. One of the great strengths of Assassin's Creed is the talent that has been brought together for a video game adaptation. In addition to Fassbender and Cottilard (someone who I never thought would make this kind of film), there are also the thespian delights of Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling and Brendan Gleason to savour. Granted, they are not given a great deal to work with, but their mere presence adds weight to the set up.
Whilst having a strong ensemble cast is great, the main reason that I liked Assassin's Creed is due to the performance of its leading man. Whether it's acting in Spanish as the 15th century's Aguilar, or as his modern day descendant Callum Lynch, Fassbender carries the film with utter conviction. As a bonus, looking lean and mean, the guy really kicks ass! Although hinted at in the X-Men movies - I haven't seen Centurion, mind - Assassin's Creed is Fassbender's first proper, full on action vehicle; and boy does he look damn good doing it. On the strength of what I've seen here, if they want to bring back the ruthless killer Bond - and forever expunge the memory of the dreary Spectre - then Michael is your man. I thought the Spanish set action set pieces, with its blend of parkour and grounded fight sequences, were really impressive. It's clear that CGI has been used but not to the extent that it detracts from the overall effect. The majority of the action is centred around Aguilar's back story, although there are also a couple of cool sequences involving Cal Lynch (and you can clearly see Fassbender doing most of the action).
The major criticism is that, once Cal Lynch's story arc goes full circle, I was expecting a really grandstanding finale, but it's something that doesn't quite materialise, and is instead rather abrupt - as if being set up for a sequel (if you've watched any of the recent Resi Evil films, you will know what I mean). Finally, for a 3-D conversion, they did a really good job, probably one of the better conversions that I've seen. Overall, definitely worth a watch - leagues ahead of Suicide Squad - but loses marks for a weak ending. If I have to give a score I'd say between 6 to 6.5 out of 10 (if I'm in a good mood).