In Theatres: 
Sep 02, 2016
Running Time: 
92 minutes

The first thing that came to mind when I read the synopsis for Morgan was that it sounded eerily similar to last year’s phenomenal Ex Machina. Held up in a secluded and top-secret compound is a “girl” who is the key to an infinite number of breakthroughs in science and technology. While Ex Machina is an exploration into humanity and artificial intelligence, Morgan instead revolves around straight action.


Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) is the result of years of research and many failed attempts at genetically creating humans with synthetic DNA. A group of scientists have essentially disconnected themselves from the outside world to raise Morgan as they believe she is the next step in human evolution. But when an incident in which Morgan violently attacks one of the scientists occurs, the company they all work for sends in Lee (Kate Mara), a troubleshooter who is to assess the incident and give her recommendation on whether or not the project should continue forward. That of course doesn’t sit well with Morgan, who now dreams of visiting the outside world and will do what it takes to escape.


Morgan starts off on a high note as we see Lee venture to the compound and is introduced to the various scientist staff members. I enjoyed Mara’s stoic and extreme focus on the task at hand. She’s there to evaluate the situation, not to make friends, and it’s made clear directly from the start. There’s no doubt that Mara is a complete badass in the role. She’s always calm, and when the situation starts to get out of hand, she knows exactly what to do.


The first act of the film is promising as it sets up the moral implications of altering the human body with synthetic DNA. As an outsider, Lee hasn’t formed the same attachments the other scientists have, which is evident by how she refers to Morgan as an ‘it’ while others, especially Amy (Rose Leslie) who is the closest with Morgan, use ‘her’.


Unfortunately these themes are quickly abandoned in favor of pure action as Morgan escapes from her cage and goes on a killing spree in search of freedom. The action isn’t even that good; movements are clunky and too up close so it’s difficult to understand what’s going on. Morgan also has the ability to control things with her mind in some fashion, but it’s never made clear as she only uses it a couple of times towards the beginning. Then it simply disappears without any explanation. You’d think telekinesis would come in real handy when escaping but apparently not.


Furthermore, Morgan is entirely predictable and full of plot holes whose sole purpose is to facilitate the lackluster story, no matter how absurd it might be. It suffers from an identity crisis, not knowing whether it wants to be a horror, thriller, or action film. It’s an amalgam of all three, but does neither of them all that well. Morgan is a mindless rollercoaster, and we’re all just along for the ride. And when it’s all over, I was left with a mediocre feeling of, “That’s it?”

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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