Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Creator (2023).
Early in The Creator, its hero, Joshua (John David Washington), is assigned by his military superiors to track down and kill the mysterious figure known as “Nimata,” the creator of a new AI weapon that’s supposedly capable of ending the war between the anti-AI U.S. and the robotic and human civilians of New Asia. It’s during this mission that Joshua crosses paths with the weapon in question, an AI child named Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), who has the power to remotely shut down any technological devices in close proximity to her.
While Joshua may be officially searching for Alphie and her creator, the only reason he’s on his mission is to reunite with his recently spotted wife, Maya (Gemma Chan), an ally of the AI whom he previously believed to be dead. In all actuality, he couldn’t be less interested in finding or killing the human known as Nimata. At the end of The Creator’s second act, however, Joshua learns that Maya and Nimata are the same person and that his wife used the genetic code of her and Joshua’s child to create Alphie. After the U.S. subsequently launches a devastating surprise attack on the AI resistance’s central New Asian base, Joshua and Alfie manage to escape to the peaceful, remote mountain village where Maya is said to be located.
Once there, Joshua learns that Maya has been living in a comatose state on life support ever since the attack that separated them in the first place and that she has been monitored solely by the village’s AI monks, whose programming prevents them from harming her. When the U.S. military catches up with them, Joshua is forced to shut off Maya’s life support just before he and Alphie are separated and taken back to the States. Immediately afterward, the peaceful village Maya called home is bombed into oblivion by NOMAD, the U.S. space station that also functions as a weapon of mass destruction.
Several days later, Joshua manages to outsmart his superiors and he leads Alphie on a mission to NOMAD itself. Once on board the station, Alphie uses her powers to permanently shut it down. In doing so, she prevents NOMAD from successfully bombing every remaining AI safe haven throughout the world — an attack that would have presumably wiped the entire region of New Asia off the map. Unfortunately, before they get the chance to leave together, Alphie and Joshua find themselves on opposite sides of an escape pod. Joshua, looking at the AI visage of his and Maya’s unborn daughter, says a tearful goodbye to Alphie before sending her and her escape pod back to Earth.
Before NOMAD is totally destroyed, however, Joshua gets his final wish granted. Walking through the space station’s greenhouse field, he comes face-to-face with an AI version of Maya that was, unbeknownst to him, awoken by Alphie just minutes earlier. As NOMAD collapses around them, Joshua and Maya embrace, fulfilling the former’s desire to hold his wife one more time — on the very space station that he and Alphie had previously referred to as “Heaven,” no less.
On Earth, Alphie emerges from her escape pod into an already-changed world. The young simulant watches as dozens and dozens of humans and androids alike begin to swarm the downed remains of NOMAD — celebrating the end of its tyranny over the world. As Alphie watches these celebrations begin, she slowly but surely begins to smile — and that’s when The Creator cuts to black.
The Creator wisely doesn’t end on too concrete of a final note. Instead, the film concludes at the exact moment when a new world has been birthed — one potentially free of the constant war, violence, and bigotry that had defined its previous era. It’s an ending that celebrates the destruction of the modern military-industrial complex and marvels at the possibilities that might lie in a world free of such constant, manufactured conflict.
As was the case with both of Edwards’ previous films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Godzilla, The Creator’s ending is one marred by sacrifice and destruction. Sometimes, though, the only way to create something new is to break what’s already there.
The Creator is now playing in theaters.
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