After taking a test that decides her fate and then choosing whatever fate she wanted, Tris Prior is back. Somehow, the dystopian casserole known as Divergent actually did well enough to warrant a sequel. Not only that, but the third book is already in development and being split into two movies. I hate when good things happen to bad movies.
Insurgent follows Tris and Four as they hide from the villainous Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and her army of Dauntless warriors. Tris and her group have to travel from faction to faction as they are lightly pursued by soldiers that are sort of looking for them. Meanwhile, the nefarious Jeanine has got her hands on a glowing Macguffin. This box is meant to provide an important message from the founders of the city. Yet, it is locked and the only way to open it is to have a Divergent log in to the Matrix and complete a few virtual reality quests of courage.
It’s a epic saga where Tris doesn’t know who she can trust and doesn’t even know if she can trust herself, as many different situations she’s in, may just be happening in her dreams!
Most of the on-screen action is not actually happening. More often than not, it’s all in her head. This takes away all risk and tension. For what it’s meant to be, Insurgent is quite boring.
This is based on the second book in Veronica Roth’s successful young adult series. Even fans of the series would tell you that each book gets monumentally worse. This also seems to be the case with the movies as well. If Divergent was a fun movie for 13 year olds, Insurgent simplifies the plot so much, that it seems meant for 9 year old girls. Unlike The Hunger Games series, I have not read Divergent. Yet, if they could not spice up a few hundred pages of a book and make it a tight story, it’s clearly a dull and poorly written book.
Insurgent doesn’t do anything that the first movie didn’t already accomplish. All it does it give Kate Winslet a chance to chew the scenery and eventually realize (even though she knew it in the first movie) that Tris is 100% Divergent and the key to open up the magic glowy box. I kid you not, you will hear Jeanine say “You are the only one who can unlock this? That’s ridiculous!” I agree Jeanine. By the way, she says this five times. It’s nice when a movie calls its own plot “ridiculous.”
Shailene Woodley is coming off a high with last year’s cancer love story, The Fault in our Stars. However, her acting weakness really shows through in this series. She could not be less relatable.
It’s surprising at the level of talent this series has amassed, but done so little with. It’s made Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet, Tony Goldwyn and Ashley Judd all look bad.
There’s a large amount of disbelief that you must suspend in a story like this. I’m typically along for the ride when a movie sets up its own universe. However, when you set up an alternate world, you must also follow the rules you set. Insurgent uses so many convenient hand-waves and broken logic, that it seems like events happen because the writers were in a hurry and didn’t have much time to actually explain how we got there or why we’d want to.
In Insurgent, the Dauntless troops shoot factions with bullets that implant into the nervous system of each victim. If you try to remove the bullet, you will surely die. That is, until one faction removes them without any explanation. Also, the bullets allows Jeanine’s faction to control the victim. I’m not sure why she doesn’t just take advantage of this and brainwash each faction to get the power she so desperately craves, rather than just use a few brainwashed people as puppets to get the attention of Tris. P.S. Tris also has a brainwashing bullet implanted and the evil organization could have easily forced her to turn herself in.
Insurgent has entered a brainless territory that is devoid of entertainment or tension, almost sinking into Twilight depths. I’m giving it a D+. If you still choose to see it, you deserve to be kidnapped by the greatest of all movie villains. No, I don’t mean The Joker, Darth Vader or Hannibal Lecter. I am talking about JEANINE!