While I was watching The Creator, other science fiction movies came to mind like Blade Runner, District 9, and The Terminator, but this film is so well done that it feels fresh and not at all like a lazy retread.
In the future, war rages between humans and artificial intelligence because the AI purportedly decided to nuke Los Angeles. The U.S. Military launches a campaign to eliminate AI from existence by hunting down "Nirmata," the elusive creator of advanced AI. Ex-special forces soldier Joshua Taylor (John David Washington) is recruited to find and destroy the new weapon engineered by "Nirmata." Joshua takes the mission because he is told by the army rep that they can reunite him with his wife, Maya (Gemma Chan), who has been presumed dead for several years.
Eventually, Joshua finds the new AI weapon, which is a robot in the form of a little girl (Madeleine Yuna Voyles). Joshua names the little girl Alphie, and uses her to find his wife, but that just pisses off his superiors.
The Creator is directed and co-written by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), and he infuses his story with allusions to the Vietnan War, which gives the movie an effective weightiness. Yes, this film is bleak, as it deals with the horrors of war, but strangely, it has moments of humor that work and don't feel out of place.
Washington's impassioned performance really keeps you invested in the character. Joshua is a flawed individual, as he is confused about what side of the fight he is on. This is a terrific character with many layers. Washington also has great chemistry with young Madeleine Yuna Voyles, who is absolutely wonderful here in her first role.
The special effects in The Creator are eye-popping. The robots - many of whom have human faces but with visible robotic parts - look absolutely convincing. Of course, the effects are awe inspiring because they are at the service of a compelling story and terrific performances.
The Creator is occasionally repetitive, and it does go on a little too long, but it is good and thought provoking science fiction, and that is worth something.