To start with I have to mention that I had not played the games before I saw the movie. I am almost always intrigued when someone decides to make a move based on a game. Translating a narrative from the game console to the big screen is always difficult. I have yet seen it mastered, but I had hope for ‘Assassin’s Creed‘.
I know of the games and some aspects of its narrative and general concept of the game world, but I have never ventured more into it than that. So I went into the cinema with no expectation than hoping to come out understanding the game(/story) world a bit better. To this I must say that my expectation was met, but the expectations were not that high to begin with, so this is not that big a surprise.
However, what was a surprise, were the choice of character development (so to speak) and the narrative around these. To some degree the movie has managed to create a second person narrative in a movie. Having such a flat character as a protagonist and main character of a movie makes makes it difficult to relate to him, but it makes it easier for an audience to make the narrative their own. Just as it is on a game.
The narrative in the movie were more focused and involved any other character than the main character. I was in fact more interested in the antagonist history and the relations between this and the main narrative. In these types of movies the gaming experience is being translating on to the big screen to an passive audience as oppose to an active player, but for Assassin’s Creed it seems like they sort of forgot this part.
Even though we only have such a flat main character to work with as a passive audience, it does give us an opportunity to experience the game world at a quick glance. That is what I think the movie did (kind of) well. You could see it as a long commercial for the game and promotional stunt, because it did not do much else. It left more questions to be answered than anything and I am quite sure that they can be answered if you play the game.
On a last note, I must say that they did do a good job at the stunts and visual effects very well. Those were my favorite parts of the movie, because they made me feel as part of the action and was the only part I could really relate to. It made the whole things more interesting to watch.