The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015)
Robert Schwentke directs the sequel to Divergent (2014). Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) are now living with the Amity faction as they plan their next move against the tyrannical Jeanine (Kate Winslett). Tris is haunted by the death of her parents. She feels enormous amounts of guilt for having killed a friend from her former Dauntless faction. Jeanine is on a mission to put an end to the Divergent population. She believes them to pose a threat to the basis of their society.
While Jeanine is busy trying to open a vessel which contains a message from the community’s forefathers, the factionless as well as detractors begin to ramp up for a civil war to overthrow the modern-day dictatorship. Tris and company flee from the Amity compounds and onto a train after being chased by Dauntless soldiers. Soon thereafter we meet the headquarters for the Factionless. Naomi Watts portrays Evelyn Johnson-Eaton, the leader of the Factionless. Evelyn plans to unite the forces of her army with that of the brave Dauntless as a means to an end to this oppression.
From here the novel quickens its pace towards the climatic sequences that ultimately provide the bombshell that ended the second novel. As someone who read the trilogy last year, I have to admit that not only was I not entirely excited to go watch this movie in theaters (I liked the book a lot, however the first movie was a disappointment) I sort of had forgotten most of what happens. I think in some ways that helped temper my expectations. Well that and the myriad of mediocre reviews the film has garnered. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the vast improvement this sequel was to its predecessor.
Unlike Neil Burger, Schwentke expanded the scope and depth of Roth’s characters by exploring the emotional and psychological consequences of not only living in such a society but of all that has happened so far to these young lives. While the CGI wasn’t anything I hadn’t already seen, it certainly enhanced the visual sequences of the simulations. Miles Teller in my opinion overshadowed his male counterparts with his wit and superb acting. Woodley once again captured the essence that is Tris Prior. The cast overall did a good job, albeit I couldn’t stop thinking that Naomi Watts was unfortunately miscast (I always pictured Evelyn to be played by Julianne Moore).
The Divergent Series: Insurgent is a sequel that is worthy of the franchise. Unlike the misguided Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Insurgent provides action and depth of character from start to finish. My only complaint with the movie was the ending which deviated somewhat from the book. I thought it should have ended on a different note. While the film’s ending was dramatic it did not necessarily set up the final two adaptations of Allegiant to the casual viewer.
I strongly recommend watching this film in theaters. It is light-years better than its predecessor. I am looking forward to the direction of this movie series. I hope the vision continues when adapting what I think is the best novel of the trilogy.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (sequences of intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language)
Running Time: 119 minutes
My Grade: A-
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