Humanity's relationship with technology is a fascinating one, the way it plays a major part in our everyday life meaning many would be absolutely lost without it. Films have depicted fractured relationships between man and machine before however, not many have done it with the emotional heft of Gareth Edwards' The Creator.

As a future war between the human race and artificial intelligence rages on, ex-special forces agent Joshua (John David Washington) is recruited to hunt down and kill the Creator, the elusive architect of advanced AI. The Creator has developed a mysterious weapon that has the power to end the war and all of mankind. As Joshua and his team of elite operatives venture into enemy-occupied territory, they soon discover the world-ending weapon is actually an AI in the form of a young child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles).
It's been seven years since we last saw Gareth Edwards behind the camera, Rogue One being the film in question. Having delivered one of the more confident films in the Disney Star Wars era, it's great to finally see Edwards back making grand sci-fi spectacle that just comes to life spectacularly on the big screen. The Creator has clear influences that run through it yet it never feels like a pale imitation of them. The narrative left me feeling a little cold to begin with, the dialogue feeling a bit wooden at times, however, the world-building from Edwards is so detailed and thoughtful that it brings it all together with an emotional crescendo that feels earned. It made a change from the battle sequences that felt a little repetitive, that's for sure.

This future world feels well and truly lived in, a world torn apart by war brought to life through some stunning cinematography from Greig Fraser and Oren Soffer, the production design providing a sense of realism and maintaining a more grounded approach to proceedings. The visual effects are seamless and add to the grounded nature, rather than taking you out of the film at any point by looking hokey, which just goes to show how good a film can look on a significantly lower budget than most blockbusters these days. There's a score from Hans Zimmer that accompanies the film in a suitably loud manner too, even if it isn't some of his best work.
Coming to the performances, John David Washington delivers what might just be his best performance to date as Joshua (I feel so seen!). He's always had the charisma but here he has to go deeper into a character getting what feels like a second chance at fatherhood, Washington excelling when it comes to the more tender scenes between Joshua and Alphie. Speaking of Alphie, newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles is incredible in such a major role at the age of nine. She holds her own against some seasoned professionals and gives the film the emotional heartbeat required for it to work. Ken Watanabe and Allison Janney show their effortless quality in the most prominent supporting roles, the former always having such great screen presence.

The Creator is a very welcome return for Gareth Edwards that, while not perfect, possesses a heart and soul that make is such a captivating piece of sci-fi filmmaking.

Verdict: ★★★


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