Director Luke Scott, son of Ridley Scott, makes his directorial feature film debut with a new sci-fi, futuristic film called Morgan, that takes several ideas that have been seen before and blends them into a film that is a decent time, albeit a familiar time.
Morgan seemingly borrows concepts from films such as Ex Machina, Blade Runner and many horror films for this film. I have to say I also had a Stranger Things vibe from Morgan (who reminded me a lot of Eleven from that Netflix series.)
Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) is an artificial creation of a agency looking to create a human/humanoid for…you know…reasons. There is a corporation behind the group and they send a risk-management consultant named Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) to investigate Morgan attacking and injuring one of the team members. Lee’s job is to decide whether Morgan deserves to continue or should be terminated.
When Lee arrives at the compound, she discovers the staff of the science organization had grown close to Morgan, seeing her more as a little girl than a thing. The staff kept referring to Morgan with the feminine pronoun “she” instead of the non-gender word “it.”
Meanwhile, it is clear that something was bothering Morgan, as she was uncertain as to why she had assaulted Kathy (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Lee, very closed down and emotionless, is there to do a job without any feeling or doubt. Head scientist Dr. Ziegler (Toby Jones) clearly supported Morgan and wanted the girl to continue to live at the compound. They brought in a psychiatrist (Paul Giamatti) to do a psyche evaluation. When that goes south, all hell breaks loose.
There are some very good moments in this film. The aforementioned psyche evaluation was extremely tense and compelling, despite the fact that I questioned the techniques of Giamatti’s character. The scene itself had me on the edge of my seat.
Anya Taylor-Joy was very good as Morgan and so was Kate Mara as Lee. These two characters would be vitally important to this movie and if they were not handled properly, this would devolve into crap quickly. Fortunately, that did not happen.
The story is serviceable but predictable. There is nothing really new that this film brought to the science fiction genre. And even though I thought of the ending twist earlier in the film, Morgan does a good job of making you unsure if the film was really going to go there.
The film raises some interesting questions early in the story, but the pay off was really just an action fest. Now, the action was very solid, and Luke Scott looks to be a very good action director, but the ending just does not seem to fit with the beginning. It is like two different movies.
Despite some flaws in the story telling and a lack of anything new, Morgan does hit most of its beats fairly well, making it an entertaining film. It is short and quick, never dawdling on any moment too long and they used a couple of flashbacks that, although kind of heavy handed, helped give us some important details for the characters. Add to that the solid performances and Morgan turns out to be a better film than anticipated.