Insurgent: Film Review

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I have been bitching about the Divergent sequel Insurgent for ages because I was not impressed by the trailer and it seemed like a completely different film to the first one. It has a different feel and look, sure, as there is a new director (Robert Schwentke), but I liked it as much as, if it not more than, Divergent. I feel like the franchise has found its feet and this is a proper action movie.

The plot picks up immediately after Divergent and Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) arrive at Amity (one of the factions) to hide from the soldiers hunting for Divergents. They soon have to move on and find support from other factions in a bid to rise up and finally taken down the evil society leader Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet).

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The issue for this franchise is that it has always been seen the weaker sibling of The Hunger Games as they are based on young adult stories starring kickass girls and feature groups teaming up to end the dystopian rule. Insurgent tries harder to be different and takes more liberties with the source material than before. The stumbling block is still the features of the society – I found it really hard to remember all the factions and their characteristics, let alone what happened in Divergent, and I have read the books so I feel for people who haven’t. I would definitely recommend a re-watch of Divergent first.

The Insurgent novel is huge so this adaptation has done well to move along at a swift pace and it is doesn’t go too long without action and excitement. When I saw the crazy stunts in the trailer, I thought ‘oh no, it’s trying to be Spider-Man’ but thank God that scene turned out to be a simulation sequence, where things are allowed to be slightly ridiculous since they aren’t real. The special effects were amazing in general but sometimes people moving super fast/doing some crazy stunt didn’t look quite as polished. I also enjoyed the combat sequences, especially in the beginning between Tris and Peter and I was surprised how cold and callous some of the deaths were in a film aimed at youngsters.

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I like Shailene because she tries to bring as much to the role as possible and make Tris well-rounded. It sometimes verges on melodramatic as she is sad or worried literally all the time. She is responsible for people dying, we get it, but perhaps it is stated too often. There could be more light and shade as it is constant threat, worry, anguish and sadness. The only relief came from Teller, whose character has doubled in importance between movies. Peter is witty, funny and makes quips that we’re all thinking to lighten the mood.

I don’t know why Octavia Spencer signed up for this as her character is barely there, while Naomi Watts character, the factionless leader (and Four’s mum), does have the potential to do important stuff later on (in fact, I know she does). I loved the simulation sequences and Tris’ true moments of weakness. But I don’t like her romance with Four as I don’t believe it and I don’t rate Theo much as an actor. The movie ends on a surprising note (it has changed significantly from the book) and I hope that will inspire people to continue watching. Yes, this does have its flaws but it is definitely a stronger and bolder outing and an enjoyable watch.

Released Friday 20th March 

SEE ALSO:

Pictures from the Insurgent world premiere 

Apple Store Q&A with Theo and Shailene

Divergent Review

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