Now Showing: Insurgent

Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) fight off evil together in the film. (Photo Coutesy of

Sarah Markiewicz, Staff Writer

Incoming director Robert Schwentke takes little time to stop for fluff and humor on Tris and Tobias’s whirlwind mission through the dystopian world of factions in the ‘Divergent’ series’s second installment ‘Insurgent.’

There’s much to criticize about Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” world and its stereotypical factions, so the filmmakers had every right to tweak “Insurgent,” the second installment of the “Divergent” series as much as he could. While the film took on a more straightforward plot, the post-apocalyptic world was not cured of its lack of sense; the interesting twists, conflicts and resolutions of the book are sacrificed in favor of uninspiring action scenes.

Stealing away from the ensuing takeover of the city by the ruthless Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) of the Erudite, Tris (Shailene Woodley), who is carrying the guilt from the last installment with the deaths of her parents and friend, must also tolerate their temporary stay in the Amity faction, which is full of peace-loving farmers. Of course, “Insurgent” will not keep the non-violent scenes up for long, as Tris and her boyfriend Tobias (Theo James) divert their attentions to recovering an emblematic box, which is said to hold secrets about what lies outside the walls of their society, from Erudite headquarters.

As the characters and audience feel the anxiety of learning what the leaders of the city are trying to hide about the outside world, Tris and Tobias also venture to the never-before-seen Factionless and Candor sectors, where they fight through the sectors’ chilling customs and reunite with characters from the former installment such as Tris’s friend Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and the unforgiveable and unforgettable Eric (Jai Courtney), the vindictive Dauntless trainer. With such enemies, Tris doubts her ability to keep the people around her safe.

First of all, those who read the book can take note that not a scene goes by that mimics the events of the book. Especially near the end of the book, I was waiting for things to carry out as I had expected, but director Robert Schwentke, who has replaced the director of the first movie, knows how to take points from the book and manipulate them to serve the characters’ new purpose in the film— to find out about where their society originated from.

These changes did not add any depth or even interest to the story. If anything, some of the changes limited the conflicts and character twists from the book. And with a rather disappointing ending to the film, I did not feel any interest in seeing the next installments. By the time it looked like the film was nearing its end, it wasn’t and the ensuing action almost had me falling asleep until the end credits.

Supporting cast members Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts, who play sector leaders introduced in the “Insurgent” novel, had a lot of capability in the film but again, there wasn’t much character development for either of them since the plot was so fast-paced.

While the movie’s frequent action and rushed plot were detracting, most fast-paced scenes were done well. Still, those who have read the book might be bored, as the film leaves out many of the book’s interesting subplots. The special effects stood out in the various simulation scenes, similar to those in the first film, but other than that they were unremarkable as the film’s music score, though the sound effects could be bracing and energizing.

Like “Divergent,” the sequel “Insurgent” was somewhat memorable and I’m glad that this director is trigger-happy in making many diversions from the book. If he is an “Allegiant” to the final installments, let’s hope he can keep the changes, even the pace, and strengthen the storyline, since the award-winning book’s been divided into two (most likely unnecessary) parts.