Morgan Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline. I’m always with my friends wondering what I’m going to do. FatCats Gilbert answers all my questions, and they do it at a price that won’t be beat! On Tuesdays, you can check out all of the biggest releases at the box office for just five bucks! One Lincoln gets you into a movie! It’s not just before noon or at a matinée price. The price lasts all day!

2016 has been a pretty solid year for horror movies. We haven’t had too many, and if you’ve read my reviews, you know that’s not a complaint from me, but I do like a good horror movie every once in a while, so after hear that Morgan was a horror movie directed by the son of Ridley Scott I was pretty pumped. Even in this day and age, Alien is still one of my favorite horror movies of all time, and it still holds up. I didn’t know much about Morgan walking into the theater except that it was directed by Ridley Scott’s son, so let’s see if Luke Scott strapped his dad’s boots (or spacesuit maybe? Ridley Scott is kind of a jack of all trades when it comes to genres) for his very first movie!

Morgan is directed by Luke Scott and stars Kate Mara, Rose Leslie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Michael Yare, Toby Jones, Chris Sullivan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti. After five years of raising the artificially intelligent being named Morgan, a safety supervisor played by Kate Mara is called upon to determine whether or not Morgan’s existence is safe. Unfortunately, multiple mishaps prove that Morgan may not be suitable for human safety.

One thing I can say about Morgan is that Luke Scott has a little bit of his dad in him. When I say that, I mean that rough patch Ridley Scott had between American Gangster, or earlier for some people, and The Martian. I’ll keep Prometheus off that list because I like Prometheus, but everything else between American Gangster and The Martian left myself, and just about everyone else wondering what we just saw. After seeing Morgan, I’m really disappointed. I’m a little bit speechless after this one. First of all, without exaggeration, every line in this movie falls into one of three categories: cliché, makes no sense, and nobody cares. EVERY LINE. I’m not even kidding. The first half of this movie is basically a friendly, or unfriendly if you’re Morgan, game of “cliche line ping-pong.” Characters went back and forth with lines that were so bad and so overused in thousands of other movies. It was almost like the writers took a good look at the most-used lines in film history and basically hand-picked each one to put together a dull conversation. It’s terrible. This movie opens with a bunch of science fiction talk, and every time it goes back to the science fiction talk it’s so boring, and I didn’t care whatsoever what they were saying. I’m no science fiction nerd, but even I can call a lot of this nonsense. All of the science fiction makes no sense, and it isn’t awe inspiring or believable. A perfect recent example of a science fiction movie with science fiction talk I didn’t understand is The Martian. Guess who The Martian was directed by. The answer is Ridley Scott. I didn’t know if any of Matt Damon’s potato spiel was actually possible or not, but I bought every word like it was the last box of Cheez-Its. I didn’t buy any of this bologna in Morgan.

Next we’ll talk a little bit about the delivery of some of these lines. I listed all of the stars of this movie out in the synopsis paragraph because that’s how long it took me to find someone who impressed me. It even felt like there were moments when Paul Giamatti phoned it in. What kind of world do we live in where Paul Giamatti is phoning it in? I haven’t seen all of his films, but general speaking, I think he’s an excellent actor. When it comes to the other actors in this film, I don’t even mean that some of these deliveries are bad. They’re laughably bad. This movie gets to a point where I just decided that if it didn’t take itself so seriously it might actually be a movie you can put on at a party and just laugh at some of the stuff that comes out of these characters’ mouths. Morgan felt like someone saw last year’s Ex Machina and said, “I can do that!” Well, they couldn’t. There are conversations in this movie that would feel like scenes from Ex Machina, but they’re so cliché, and they take themselves so seriously without a reward that they don’t. Towards the end of the film there is a fight scene between two characters, and if I was CinemaSins, I would sit and count all of the cuts in that scene. I’m not CinemaSins, so I didn’t, but it had to be a nightmare to edit! I needed a temple massage after watching the camera go from awkward angle to awkward angle and completely miss what’s going on through the scene. It just gets sillier and sillier the further we go. The plot makes less sense, the characters gain abilities, and things just seem to randomly happen. If there was a rational decision made in this movie, I didn’t see it.

There are very light spoilers ahead because I need to get some stuff off my chest. If you’re going to see this movie and you really care what it’s about, you probably already get the idea, so I’ll just say that Morgan, the AI character, goes on a killing rampage. After the first time she killed another being, she was locked in a box. Right after that, she attacked one of the workers at the plant by stabbing her in the eye. Next, she viciously murdered someone. After all three of those incidents, how are the people working at the plant still not convinced she needs to be, for lack of better words, terminated? Plus, Kate Mara’s job is to make sure that she’s safe. After Kate Mara witnesses Morgan brutally, and I mean brutally, murder someone, I would think that she would get in touch with her contacts of a higher level, or even the police, and tell them that Morgan is not safe! She doesn’t. She ends up trying to confront Morgan! Almost every person who works at the plant has the chance to end it, and they just don’t. I don’t even feel bad for the characters who died in a very painful way. After all of these opportunities if you still aren’t smart or scared enough to shoot Morgan, I’m going to lose interest in feeling sorry for you. You brought this upon yourself. To continue on our path of things that don’t make sense, Morgan is locked in a box for a good portion of her life. Later, Kate Mara is locked in the same box. The difference is that Kate Mara looked around for about ten seconds and realized that there was a way out. How did Morgan not find that, because based on what I’ve been told, she is smarter, stronger, and faster than anyone else in this movie?

There are a few silver linings in this movie. One is Paul Giamatti. Even though he has moments where it looks like he thought the same thing I did about the screenplay, he has some very good and tense moments. His confrontation with Morgan is very well acted. It’s inconsistent, but that is not his fault. It’s very well acted. My next positive is a car chase in the film. It’s not a good car chase by any means. I’ve played Forza. If I want cars to rub up against each other I can see much cooler cars do it. However, I did say that the car chase scene was a positive, and that’s just because I think it would make one awesome Mercedes commercial. With four-wheel drive, six cylinders, and off-road capabilities, let your Mercedes take you to the moon. That’s what that car chase might as well have been. If you can’t tell I’m not a huge car guy, so I’m not going to pretend I knew what the other cars in this movie were even though I’m pretty sure that this movie had a deal with about four different brands to show off the latest models. I think one was a Charger, but don’t quote me on that. My final positive is that this movie gave me some good laughs. They weren’t intentional, but I laughed. I could see myself putting this movie on at a party so that everyone can just enjoy the ride. I would say this is a perfect movie to sit around and pick apart if it didn’t take itself so serious.

This was a movie alright. That’s the highest compliment I can give it. It’s just such a sloppy mess and has lines that carry no weight. I’m really disappointed because I wanted to see a Ridley Scott caliber film from Luke Scott, but this movie had me laughing, and for all the wrong reasons. It’s a movie that I’ll say is good, but not for good reasons. It’s good for the same reason as The Room or The Happening. Have you ever had the chance to see The Happening’s bonus footage? There is a moment when Mark Wahlberg calls the movie out for making no sense. I could see the same thing happening with Morgan. It would have made me laugh more if there was a lighter tone, but I’ll still settle for this. Morgan is Ex Machina meets The Happening, and it takes on the quality aspect of The Happening. I’m going to give Morgan a 1/10.

Are you going to be seeing Morgan? I’m never going to say that you won’t enjoy or like a movie, so if you really wanted to see Morgan don’t let me hold you back. I should also have a review for The Light Between Oceans out later this week, so be sure to stay tuned for that! Oddly enough, I’m pumped to see that! I do want to see Yoga Hosers because Kevin Smith holds a special place in my heart, so if I can find it around my area, I’ll get a review out for that as well. As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

PHOTO: Den of Geek

About Justin Lyons

Hey, it’s Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm