Review: Insurgent

Insurgent picks up right where 2014’s Divergent left audiences. Tris (Shailene Woodley) is on the run with Four (Theo James), her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort), and fellow Dauntless newbie Peter (Miles Teller). They’ve been labeled fugitives by Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and are hiding from her in the Amity faction.

When Eric (Jai Courtney) finds a mystery box in Tris’ parent’s old home, Jeanine believes it’s a message from The Founders. The only problem, Jeanine needs a Divergent to open the box. So… …….she sends Eric, who runs around like a pit bull off its leash, to different factions to test everyone to see if they’re Divergent.

Jeanine’s manhunt forces Tris and Four out of hiding and puts them on a journey that includes a train full of Factionless, and a trip to Candor where they reconnect with the other Dauntless members. After a vicious attack on Candor, Jeanine learns Tris is the special Divergent she’s been looking for all along. Surprise! In true young adult novel fashion, Tris is the chosen one and this leads to a big showdown between Tris, Jeanine, and the mystery box.

Honestly, Insurgent isn’t a “good” movie. For starters, the trailers are hilariously deceiving. All the “action” in those trailers takes place during the final 30 minutes of the film. Even funnier – everything leading up to the final showdown could’ve been reduced to 45 minutes.  There’s  plenty of bad acting like when Tris tries to show her anger problems or  fight off the truth serum by grunting like she’s about to transform into The Hulk. There are things that go unexplained like how Jeanine having a room already built for a box she didn’t know how to open. Or what a useless character Caleb is (seriously he’s the worst sibling since Scar). Let’s not forget Four’s laughable outburst at the dinner table.  But if you’re into the Divergent series, none of these complaints matter and this is the perfect movie for you.

Even with it’s faults, and there’s a lot, the film’s not 100% terrible. Miles Teller seems to be having the most fun out of anyone. Teller is the movies comic relief and it’s necessary. Especially during some of the more tense scenes. It’s not even just his jokes, Teller’s energy effects every scene he’s in. This movie could’ve used more Teller and less useless brother.  The attack on Candor scene is one of the best sequences in the film. There’s lots of action and scenes that actually move the plot forward.  The film also does a much better job explaining the universe that the movies take place in. Divergent had a rough time explaining it as well as developing all the film’s characters. Insurgent does a much better job of laying out the who, what, whys of the Divergent series.

I sort of enjoy seeing Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, and Ansel Elgort doing films together. It’s like a game of Hollywood Musical Chairs. I hope they all team up for a buddy cop film next.

At this point, the Divergent film series is what it is. The lead roles are locked in and we’re getting two more films. If you’re a fan of the series, you’re in on these films regardless. If you’re not, these movies aren’t meant for you and it won’t take you long to figure that out. These films could be improved by leaps and bounds, but there’s really no reason to change them and everybody knows it.

Grade: C-