The second installment of the “Divergent” series is better than the first, but still has much room for improvement before I start calling it anything other than “The Hunger Games” with Shailene Woodley. The movies are based on a popular young adult dystopian book series following a young girl who must save the world. Sound familiar?
“Insurgent” picks up after the first film when the group of Dauntless soldiers joined Erudite under the instruction of evil mastermind Jeanine, who is fighting to kill all of the people who do not identify with one particular faction, the Divergent. Tris (Woodley) and Four (Theo James) must face impossible challenges to uncover the secrets of their divided society and figure out the truth about the Divergent.
If it sounds like something you’ve heard before, that’s because it is. When I reviewed the first movie last spring, I called it “decent.” “Insurgent” matches that underwhelming tone perfectly. The effects are cool, but the story is so complex that even audiences that have read the book can get lost in the confusion. Woodley does little to give Tris much depth, but Tris’s character development was poorly written. Tris’s determination to sacrifice herself for the ones she loves seems totally unnecessary except for moving the plot along.
The action sequences were boring, relying heavily on 3-D effects instead of original choreography. The pacing was too drawn out in unimportant scenes but rushed in others that were full of plot details. Additionally, even though the story is complex, audiences are still bored by the lack of excitement in the characters. The supporting characters like Peter (Miles Teller) make the movie, but are grossly underwritten.
“Insurgent” is much like its predecessor, decent and typical. It’s not the worst movie ever made but it doesn’t do a good job distinguishing itself against the dozens of other “Hunger Games” spinoffs. With a 31 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and only a $52 million box office opening, this movie is not one to remember.
“Insurgent” is rated PG-13 for intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language.