Insurgent – 2015

Director Robert Schwentke
Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet
Screenplay Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback based on the novel by Veronica Roth

It’s long, drawn out, with many useless angles. There are the expected twists. The world is supposed to expand yet strangely it feels smaller. They are breaking the last book into multiple movies. Again. Am I done with this series?

Not quite, but its close. For whatever reason, they give Tris (Woodley) that same trait given to so many heroines in the second movie of dystopian series: a crippling and overwrought conscience. She carries the burden of the people who have died before her as she struggles to formulate a plan with Four in the days following the events of Divergent. They bounce from faction to faction, run from some, face off with others, give up to even others and the cycle repeats. It all has a point, one can suppose, but it labors from scene to scene where the first one percolated with a simpler purpose.

This film even with its myriad flashbacks and dream sequences, feels disconnected for the first story. As Jeanine, Winslet has a few Empire Strikes Back moments with her quest to resolve a box discovered early in the film. If this. If this box is mentioned in the first film, I do not remember. That it plays a key role gives one the impression it should have been more memorably indicated in Divergent either way.

That the writing and directing team is different from the first film is very much noticed in the finished product. There is absolutely no development of any of the characters beyond Tris. Even her development is more of a regression and then a late film bounce back. If she does another Katniss / Bella depression in the next film, just write me off until the last film.

The regression of the property is not total surprise, but that it’s directed by Schwentke is disappointing, given his excellent work on R.E.D.. Of course he’s directed R.I.P.D. after that. This is way better than that pile.

How much one likes this film depends on how much one roots for Woodley as an actress and female heroines in general. It’s not a bad film, if it is a let down from the first episode. Take it from this uninspired review that I won’t be standing in line to see if it get’s better with the next film.

(*** out of *****)

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