I knew there was a reason why I stopped reading Insurgent halfway through the book. The movie definitely confirmed that reason.
Insurgent is the second film in the Divergent film series. The films are based on a popular series of dystopian novels by Veronica Roth. Insurgent picks up after the events of the first film, where Triss (Shailene Woodley) began to uproot the class system of a post-war Chicago. Triss is “divergent,” meaning that she doesn’t just fall into one of the five ‘factions’ like most people; rather, she fits into many. This rare divergence is threatening to the faction system, so Triss, her boyfriend Four (Theo James), and some of her fellow divergent are on the run from Jeanine (Kate Winslet), one of society’s leaders attempting to seize power for her faction. Jeanine has a particular interest in the divergent because she believes they hold the key to opening a mysterious box containing a crucial message from the faction creators.
One of the most intriguing parts of the first film, Divergent, was the faction simulations. In these simulations, the characters were put into a virtual simulation to see how they would react. I was glad to see these simulations,which are arguably some of the films’ best scenes, extended to the second film. Without them it would feel as if something was missing.
Woodley is great as Triss and is able to carry the majority of the film herself. But, it’s really some of the secondary characters who steal the show. Kate Winslet’s character is cool and calculated, posing a real threat to freedom and to Triss’s life. Another great character is Peter, played by Miles Teller, who can’t seem to make up his mind about which side he’s on. This “Is he, isn’t he?” dynamic keeps the audience on their toes whenever he’s on screen (as Peter’s not a clear black-and-white villain like Jeanine).
One thing I don’t particularly enjoy is how violent the film is. It isn’t on the level of some military or war films; however, seeing young adults run around punching, shooting, and killing each other is a bit unsavory.Yes, this is a dystopian survival situation, but, nonetheless, the way the film goes about representing dystopian survival doesn’t quite work. (Now, tell that to the guy behind me in the theatre who, as he was leaving, yelled, “That was freakin’ sick!”.)
Insurgent isn’t a bad film. The plot is enjoyable enough, the actors are fine, and I felt satisfied with the ending and how we ultimately got there. Insurgent feels like yet another action-packed dystopian film with a cool leading lady and a hunky leading man. It’s The Hunger Games mixed with a little bit of The Maze Runner. And, for that reason, it just doesn’t bring much of anything new to the table.
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes