Insurgent (2015)

InsurgentIn the ruins of future Chicago — its citizens walled in and divided into five factions according to mutually exclusive virtues — leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) is trying to open a mysterious box. In Amity, meanwhile, having survived Erudite’s hostile takeover of Abnegation, Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), boyfriend Four (Theo James), brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and fellow survivor Peter (Miles Teller) take short-lived refuge in the home of Johanna (Octavia Spencer). When Eric (Jai Courtney) and his team of soldiers track them down, however, they are forced to flee once more, this time escaping aboard a train back into the city — all except Peter, who surrenders. En route, and for want of a better plan, Four reveals that he was born Tobias Eaton, and that his mother (Naomi Watts) is raising an army of factionless individuals with which to overthrow Jeanine.

If you are planning to see Insurgent — the second instalment in Summit Entertainment’s Divergent series, adapted from Veronica Roth’s bestselling books — then it can be reasonably assumed that the first film’s many, many, many flaws were not enough to put you off; that, for instance, the derivative plot, paper-thin characters and non-existent internal logic were of little importance next to an attractive cast and — well, an attractive cast. The ensemble has indeed returned — in body at least, most of them having gone on to bigger and better things in the meantime — but so too have the same unanswerable questions. What is divergent? How are they any different from the factionless? Where on Earth did Roth get the impression that you could meaningfully differentiate between personality types? The script throws out one or two ideas, but nothing remotely satisfying.

The sequel poses equally baffling questions of its own, too. When did Tris find the time to highlight her hair while on the run? What use would a faction called Candor and comprised only of honest people possibly have for a truth serum? How does being divergent — belonging in more than one faction, apparently — grant you super-strength, blanket weapon skills and immunity to tranquilisers? In fact, Insurgent only contains one single revelation, though unfortunately everyone in the audience will have guessed the resultant twist within the opening moments of the movie, if not sooner. Luckily, however, there are more diversions this time around, and thanks to a substantially increased special effects budget (along with replacement director Robert Schwentke’s eye for a set piece) the film is occasionally visually exciting enough to distract you from the fact that none of it makes the slightest bit of sense.

The simulations are back, as divergents are put to the test by Jeanine in an attempt to unlock the box’s secrets, but rather than having the subjects perform relatively mundane tasks the obstacles have been scaled up in every possible way. The Dauntless simulation, for instance, sees the subject navigate a crumbling and re-configuring cityscape in an attempt to save a loved one, while Abnegation pits them against themselves in a fight to the death. When Tris is inevitably put through her paces, being 100% divergent or whatever, her success during the Erudite test leads to one of the most unexpectedly and unnecessarily beautiful sequences of the year so far. It is ultimately hollow praise, however, as being unable to engage with the characters — nobody apart from Watts (“Do you want to tuck him in or should I?”) makes the slightest impression — or begin to comprehend what’s at stake — not a single death, betrayal or reconciliation carries any dramatic weight whatsoever — you can only appreciate it on the most superficial of levels.

While not quite as infuriating or insulting as the original, The Divergent Series: Insurgent does nothing to suggest that the series has any intention of actually diverging from the worst cliches of the Young Adult genre. For insurgency in 2015, you’d more than likely be better off waiting for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II or The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials.

2-stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Insurgent (2015)

  1. Nostra says:

    Saw this during the weekend and was also disappointed by it. I did enjoy the first one, but here the story want always logical and the same thing was true for the motivation of some of the characters. A disappointment.

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