Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts
Director: Robert Schwentke
Running Time: 119 mins
The Divergent Series: Insurgent is an American film and the sequel to Divergent. After escaping from the faction system, Tris must start a fight against the oppressive regime by joining forces with divergent sympathisers that want to maintain order but remove the restrictions of the faction system.
Luckily, this is an improvement on the first film. It gets a little bit darker, but not really that much, whilst it also replaces that cheesy individualistic message that didn’t work with some more intelligent political ideas, which made a little more interesting to watch. However, the world continues to be as unconvincing as it was in Divergent, the characters (excluding Shailene Woodley’s) are still preposterous, and the tension that it tries to create is just too weak.
Let’s start with what this film improves on in comparison to the first. One of the main problems last time out was the fact that it felt a lot more like a girly story about cliques and breaking them to be an individual, but here, it doesn’t really go back to that idea ever, and instead starts to look a lot more at the actual political context of the society, which is definitely more interesting and exciting.
What’s more is that there’s a lot more action here to enjoy. Although it is on the whole preposterous and frustrating in the context of the story (more of that in a second), there’s some good fight sequences/dream sequences etc. to get excited by, helped largely by a massive improvement in the special effects, which make the film seem a lot more vivid and appealing than the drab look it had before.
Shailene Woodley also puts in another solid performance as our heroine, Beatrice (Tris) Prior, really standing out from what is otherwise a platter of pretty dull performances from some very talented actors. Anyway, Woodley makes her character very dynamic and unpredictable, and with the genuinely interesting development of Tris, there is someone in this film to actually want to support and follow.
Despite all this, there’s still a massive problem with this story as a whole that prevents it from being a really exciting thriller: nothing is believable. Of course, it’s a sci-fi, so why should it be believable? However, this still isn’t even a convincing world and story to follow along to, with its weird dream simulation things never really playing a properly exciting part because they’re so consistently preposterous and frustrating.
I would love to get invested in this world, because it does have potential, as seen in the first film, but it never really makes any sort of an effort to be properly convincing like films such as The Hunger Games, where you can really believe and get engrossed by the whole world and story arc, meaning that it’s just too easy to dismiss everything on screen as ridiculous when it’s meant to be having some deeper, heavier atmosphere to it.
Overall, this gets a 5.6, because despite its improvements on the first film, this film fails to realise its potential for excitement and deeper intrigue due to its preposterous world, mostly underdeveloped and uninteresting characters and unconvincing story arc.