“Morgan” is directed by Luke Scott, son of acclaimed director Ridley Scott, and stars Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Rose Leslie. The movie is about a risk-management consultant who must determine whether or not an artificially created human named Morgan has to be destroyed.
This film certainly had me interested from its trailers, as it appeared to be some sort of sci-fi thriller with a lot on its mind. So, coming in I was hopeful that Luke Scott could bring some of what his father has done, along with his own flare, to make a smart, creative science fiction movie.
Anya Taylor-Joy continues to prove herself as a talent to watch, as she is great as the title character in this film. As in The Witch earlier this year, Taylor-Joy is the standout performance here, giving Morgan plenty of layers and a lot of different emotions, all while being believable as an artificially made human.
The premise itself has to give the movie some bonus points, as it immediately got me interested in the storyline. Though it has been done in some capacity already, which I will get to later, this film does feel fresh in the way it goes at ideas of things like artificial intelligence.
Kate Mara is merely passable in this movie, as she never really gets a chance to shine, but she also does a solid job portraying the character she is given. While I wish I could have really seen how much Kate can do like her sister — Rooney was able to last year in Carol — this is by no means a bad performance.
There is one standout scene in this film, which involves an interrogation of Morgan by a rather famous actor who I won’t spoil here, but his presence was a much-needed boost to the film, and he certainly gave us the best scene of the entire movie. This scene is very well acted, entertaining, and also incredibly tense, things that I cannot say about much of the rest of the movie.
The biggest problem with “Morgan” is that it feels like two completely different movies at two different times. The first half is a much slower, much smarter film that isn’t as compelling as it should be, and the second half is a nearly mindless action, suspense movie with poorly done action.
Let’s start with the first half because most of it was fine, but it was never anything better than fine. Apart from that very well done interrogation scene, the film pretty much just teases the ideas that it looked like it could have had in the trailers. There’s a lot of character building that ends up being for nothing, but I do think this is the type of movie Luke Scott should have continued on with. If Scott had another 45 minutes to build this intelligent drama with some suspense, then I think this could have been a truly solid film, but that is not the film Morgan ended up being.
Instead, Scott decided to switch up the tempo and development that he had built and gone for a much faster-paced movie that has much less to offer. While it may have been more entertaining than the first half, it also took away from everything that was built early on. Almost none of the characters we met matter anymore and all of the smart themes are pretty much gone up until the last seconds of the movie.
Speaking of the last seconds, there is a certain piece of information revealed in the final moments, and while I thought it was a fine twist, I saw it coming a mile away. I am one of the worst people when it comes to figuring out the plot before it is told, so the fact that I easily discovered this ahead of time is not a good thing.
The second half of this film is definitely the worse half, and that is a lot in thanks to the horrifyingly atrocious action scenes. These are some of the most poorly edited action scenes I have ever witnessed, as each action scene is incredibly over-edited to the point where I could not see what was going on. It came to the point where I was counting how many cuts happened per fight, and these scenes made me dizzy more than anything.
Remember when I said that this sort of idea has been done before? Well, because a movie like Ex Machina has come out so recently, this film feels like such a lesser version of that one quite often. Ex Machina may not be exactly the same in premise, but it’s close enough to make Morgan look like a wannabe at more than one point throughout the movie.
Morgan has the potential to be something great, but it just isn’t. The first half starts off on the right note, but it isn’t intriguing enough, and the second half brings nothing to the table besides ridiculously choppy action and a plot twist that you see coming a mile away. There are good ideas here, as well as a great performance by Taylor-Joy, but it’s not enough to save Morgan from not living up to its potential.
What did you think of Morgan? Comment below with what you thought.