Feb 18, 2016
The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015)
If you caught Divergent (2014), the first film in this series, then you may have been wondering what happened to Tris the Divergent (Shailene Woodley), and the rest of the Dauntless that didn’t fall to corruption. If that’s the case, then you probably already know Insurgent (2015) is the next film in the series, and it follows the lives of Tris and Four (Theo James) as they battle to stay alive as fugitives in a dystopian world where they don’t belong. The film only briefly touches base on where the first film left off, so if you missed Divergent, you probably won’t understand Insurgent in the slightest.
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In short (sort of), a mere five days after the attack on Abnegation, Eric (Jai Courtney) and his band of cutthroat Dauntless ransack the Abnegation faction until they find a box that Jeanine (Kate Winslet), the leader of Erudite, sent them to retrieve, which is located in the rubble of Tris’s old home. Meanwhile, Tris, Four, Caleb (Ansel Elgort), and Peter (Miles Teller), along with the surviving members of Abnegation all find refuge with the Amity faction, led by Johanna (Octavia Spencer).
Back at Erudite headquarters, Jeanine analyzes the box and informs everyone that it’s a message from the elders that will help them rid the world of Divergents. However, ironically, it can only be opened by a Divergent. She sends Dauntless out with a fancy new Divergent-detector to find every Divergent they can, so that she can finally find out what the message is. So, of course, they storm Amity first.
Luckily, our main group manages to see the Dauntless coming. However, when Four tells Peter they need to split up, he backstabs the rest of the group and calls attention to them in an attempt to save himself. The three refugees take off and narrowly escape being captured thanks to a passing train. Unfortunately, the train turns out to be full of hostile Factionless people, which leads to another big fight.
Four manages to call off the brutality by giving his real name of “Tobias Eaton”. The trio is then quickly led to Factionless base camp, where Four meets with his estranged mother (Naomi Watts) and finds out that the rest of Dauntless is aligned with the Candor faction. The group prepare to leave with the knowledge of Four’s mother planning a revolution. With fighting and death looming in Caleb’s mind, he decides to stay behind.
As Four and Tris reunite with their fellow Dauntless, their joy is short-lived as the two are placed under arrest. The duo are taken to a meeting with the head of Candor, who informs them they’ll be put on trial, because they’re wanted for orchestrating the attack on Abnegation.
Four convinces the leader of Candor (Daniel Dae Kim) that it would be a fairer trial if they were to remain in Candor and take a special truth serum which will allow them to prove their innocence. But just as they’re absolved at the trial, Eric’s squad storms Candor and knocks everyone out and implants them with remote control devices that only Divergents can overcome.
With everyone passed out, Tris ends up in Eric’s custody, and Dauntless plans to take her back to Jeanine thanks to how highly she registers on the Divergent-detector scale. Luckily, Four steps in to save her and finally gets his chance to take Eric out of the picture for good.
Everyone then scrambles to figure out what the implants are and how to remove them. However, they’re not fast enough, as the implants are used to force three victims to announce a message from Jeanine calling for the surrender of Tris, just before they walk off a ledge to their deaths. Two are saved, but Tris knows the deaths will keep coming, so she turns herself in. Meanwhile, Four takes off to make a deal with his mother in order to save Tris.
Once in Erudite custody, Tris is hooked to a simulator designed to open the box. After her first attempt, she grows weak, and Caleb, who’s back with Erudite, convinces Jeanine to give her a break to preserve her body. The next day, she gives it another try, but is distressed after Peter, who’s believed to be a traitor, walks her past Four’s holding cell.
She quickly fails at the simulation and is believed to be dead. Peter wheels Tris’s body to Four, so he can say his last goodbyes. The two pretend to fight until Tris comes back to life. It seems she was just under the influence of a paralytic agent, administered by Peter, and her sudden resurrection distracts the other guards. They then overtake them and prepare for escape, but Tris refuses to go until she opens the box. Four manages to convince Peter to rig the doors, and they sneak in when everyone is gone.
Tris quickly jumps back into the simulation and finishes it, but not before the two are caught. Four fights the Dauntless off until the box begins to open, and plays a message that reveals that their city is actually a huge experiment, and the Divergent are the true reason for the experiment.
Jeanine is crushed and orders the box to be hidden, but the Factionless and rogue Dauntless storm the building while Four broadcasts the message to everyone else in the city. The gates of the city then open, leading to a whole new mystery.
As you can tell, there’s a whole lot of detail going on in the second movie of the series. It’s like the director couldn’t pick and choose what he wanted to use. So he just rushed through it all to make sure it fit in a nice little package, so he could earn a paycheck before going on to do the same thing with the final film(s). Sure, dystopian worlds are hard to master; however, since this is the second film in the series, I would have expected the film to grow a bit, and perhaps have more depth or struggle. Instead, we’re left with a film that’s a bit insulting to anyone over the age of ten.
Although there are a ton of details presented in this film, it’s still a bit hard to get into. Sure, there’s action scene after action scene, but I still found myself wondering when the film was going to be over. It’s only two hours long, which is about standard for today, but it’s two hours that drag on longer than the last 15 minutes of class before summer vacation. I think, in a way, it asks too much of its audience to sit still and endure its crappy storyline for such a lengthy period of time.
There are a lot of holes in this story, anyway. For instance, last I checked, in a dystopian world, it’s pretty hard for wanted fugitives to stroll down a street (even if it is pretty vacant) without getting captured. At one point in the film, Four and Tris just walk right into Candor without a second thought about it. Where are the Big Brother cameras, or people patrolling the streets? It just seemed too easy, especially since it happens again when Tris goes to turn herself in.
Another major hole is Tris’s nightmares. They make them out to be something important in the film, but with Woodley’s so-so acting, this aspect of the film seems to go nowhere as well, simulator or no simulator. Then there’s the Factionless, who seem to have this huge camp that’s not really hidden away from the rest of the world. Still, no one seems to know about them.
I was pretty disappointed with the CGI in the movie too. There’s one point where Tris is fighting herself, and the film seems to go into full-on videogame mode. Honestly, Parent Trap created a better Lindsay Lohan twin in the late ‘90s than this big budget film manages to do in the 20-teens.
The romance aspect to this film was taken up a notch, in comparison to the last film, simply because they added in a super-awkward love scene that only proves the two actors don’t really have a lot of chemistry to begin with. Despite their relationship, these characters almost seem like strangers who are being forced together.
All in all, if you were a big fan of Divergent, then you may enjoy this sequel. However, if you could have cared less for the first film, then this is probably one you can skip. There have been lots of people claiming it outdoes the first, but as far as I’m concerned, both films are equally bad.