Whether you were looking for great superhero moments, heartwarming family comedy, or intense action thrillers, we can all agree that the 2016 summer movie season has been a letdown. This is no more clear than with the latest offering from producer Ridley Scott of Morgan. Not only does this movie feel like it is missing about a half an hour of content, a lot of the ideas that were present in the trailer were missing from the actual film. Morgan sports an amazing cast and an interesting premise but squanders it for cheap action and an obvious twist that feels like it was bolted on at the last minute.
Lee Wethers (Kate Mara) is a corporate risk assessor who is sent to evaluate one of her company’s projects after an incident occurred with the subject. From here we are introduced to Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) who is a manufactured human with a programmable intelligence. It is clear that the company who manufactured her were creating a weapon but the scientists who created and cared for Morgan were attempting to make a peaceful person. It’s in this section that we find the first high point of the movie as it sports wonderful actors playing some deep characters. One thing I often find a problem with is that the cast featured mostly fantastic British actors yet they were all forced into American accents. The film never specified where the lab was located so the accents were only there to pander to American audiences and for that, I say shame on you, Luke Scott.
After all of the characters are introduced and the film begins to take shape, a psychologist (Paul Giamatti). who specializes in AI. is brought in to evaluate Morgan. As seen in the trailer things go wrong and Morgan attacks the psychologist. In the trailer, we are led to believe that Morgan has some kind of telekinetic powers or mind reading. In the film, Morgan does display some kind of mind reading that is never explained but it seems the editors ditched the telekinesis to make her into a super athletic martial artist. This is where the movie starts to lose it as the first half of the film was setting up deep and profound discussions about the creation of life and the questions of how to teach an AI to learn the right way. Then, without warning, the movie turns into how Morgan is an activated weapon and goes on a killing spree that ends in a fist fight with Lee. This is not a bad way to go but for a movie that is only 80 minutes long, there is no time to explain or develop conflicts or ideas naturally. You get a complex setup and then cramming to reach the finish line.
I was pretty disappointed in this film. I was expecting either a deep discussion about AI and consciousness akin to Ex Machina or a sci-fi thriller about a child turned weapon. Either would have been acceptable on their own for at least entertainment. What I got was all these ideas and more crammed into an hour and a half with a couple attempts at violence to justify an R rating. I wouldn’t waste too much time on this one but if you want to see it, wait for streaming.
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