With the toppling of Jeanine’s regime and her subsequent death, Evelyn (Naomi Watts) is now in charge of Chicago. Evelyn has ordered her army to stop the people running for the city wall. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and a very small group escape to the barren wasteland outside the wall.
Johanna (Octavia Spencer), along with Candor, speak out against Evelyn’s totalitarian rule. With a civil war imminent, Tris and Four seek to find a peaceful resolution for the city. What they find outside the wall is not what they expected, and everything is not as it seems.
The Divergent series has always felt like the “me too” of the YA world. Following in the shadow of The Hunger Games franchise, Divergent has felt like it could never quite match the caliber of action and story set up by Katniss and crew.
The cast is adequate, given what they are working with. Shailene Woodley’s Tris is unexpectedly naïve and trusting. Part of this could be desperation to find a peaceful solution. However, given what she has been through in the previous films, I would think she would be a bit more skeptical. Theo James’ Four comes off more as a mopey teenager that the leader he once was. The lone standout is Miles Teller. He brings back his sarcasm and a “can he be trusted” feeling. His was the only performance that didn’t feel like he was just going through the motions.
Visually, the film isn’t too bad. The desolate cityscape and barren wasteland are rendered pretty well. Though, some scenes will leave you questioning what exactly is going on.
If you have read the books, you will notice that the film not only strays from the source, it also feels incomplete. Miles Teller’s character even directly addresses this in a quick quip, saying, “It’s not like reading it in the books, is it?” Having not read the books, this felt like just a jab at people who complain about book adaptations. In retrospect, I realize they were nipping the criticism in the bud. Keeping this in mind, the end of the movie does not coincide with the end of the book.
Most film series have followed the trend of splitting the finale into a Part 1 and Part 2. What hasn’t been advertised is that Divergent is no different. While not a Part 1/Part 2, the series finale is called Ascendant. Watching the film, this is somewhat obvious, as it feels like a bit of a cliffhanger. Keep this in mind as the movie ends. Not everyone has read the books. Please, PLEASE don’t stand up as the film ends and loudly announce a major spoiler that may have been saved for the last movie.
If you have been following Divergent, then you will probably want to see Allegiant and Ascendant (whose budget has been reportedly cut, due to the poor box office performance of Allegiant) out of obligation to complete the series. Otherwise, feel free to skip this one. It’s not that it’s a terrible film, it’s just not as good as it could have been.