Following the successful film release of “Divergent” (2014), Veronica Roth’s book series sees its second film debut with the sequel “Insurgent.” Picking right up where the first film ended, director Robert Schwentke (“Red”) takes the viewer on a journey as he explores the world of post-apocalyptic Chicago. While also delving deeper into the psyche of our young heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley), the film tackles the “why” question that viewers wanted to know from the first movie: Why was there an attack on Abnegation?
“Insurgent” starts off with Tris, Four (Theo James), Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Peter (Miles Teller) and Marcus (Ray Stevenson) as they find temporary shelter with Amity, which is presided over by Johanna (Octavia Spencer). The film cuts to the destroyed remains of where Abnegation lived, and it is there that we learn the real purpose for its destruction — Jeanine (Kate Winslet) was in search of a mysterious box that can only be opened by a Divergent. This box was found in the home of the Priors, protected by Caleb and Tris’ mother, Natalie (Ashley Judd). At this point, the viewer must be prepared to once again have that burning curiosity of wanting to know what’s in the box. But luckily this time it’s answered.
The gang’s stay is short lived, as Dauntless comes in searching for those who are Divergent. They happen to also find Tris, Four and Caleb, who have to go back on the run after being exposed by Peter.
Throughout the movie, Teller’s Peter is a gem. He becomes the most interesting character due to his snarky yet charming acting. Though his performance certainly shines, he is accompanied by an all-star cast, each carrying their own weight through the heavy plot.
The remaining group members find their way to the realm of the Factionless, which leads to many changes and revelations for the characters. Tris and Four’s relationship gets stronger and a moment of romance transpires (sorry, “Tour” fans — it’s brief). The audience also gets to see how Candor lives, where the surviving Dauntless, who are in support of Tris and Four, take shelter.
The film escalates and winds up to an action-packed ending. Be prepared for a twist that comes into play, when the ending sets itself up to be either hated or loved by the audience. It becomes a game changer for the future movies.
With so many twists and turns, “Insurgent” provides an exhilarating movie-going experience. The high budget for the production allows the world that has been created to expand visually as the different factions are being visited. It is refreshing to see that not all factions look so grim and drab within this world as the costumes vary from faction and helps add a new layer of dimension to the world. The characters really get to thrive in this movie, as the viewer not only gets to see Tris struggle with her inner demons but also catches a glimpse of many different dynamics of relationships that come into play for all of the characters.
This second installment ventures more into the sci-fi realm this time around, which makes the viewer question the various realities presented through the film. It surpasses the first film, as the world the viewer is taken to is already established allowing for the storytelling to become overall richer, giving more depth to the characters and setting. The 3-D IMAX viewing is visually immersive but not necessary to the overall experience. The only reason it might be more appealing is for that crisper image feel and it also makes the action scenes more stunning.
The presentation of the film doesn’t allow for a boring moment. Whether you read the books or not, or simply just having enjoyed the first movie, come into this installment with an open mind and without popular culture’s mindset toward book-to-film adaptations. “Insurgent” is an action-filled and fun two hours that is worth a viewing.
“Divergent: Insurgent” is now playing in Berkeley.
Contact Jeanette Zhukov at [email protected].