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Movie Review: “Insurgent” is an Action-Packed Sequel that Partially Excites

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For those who didn’t like the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s young adult novel, Divergent, I advise you stop reading this review and don’t bother wasting your time watching this sequel.  I highly doubt you’ll find Insurgent to your liking as the first film provided more thought and care into its story-line. Though Insurgent supplies much more action, this movie comes off as a fun-filler until its anticipated conclusion.

The film is still set in a futuristic Chicago society, where people are divided into five factions based on skill and aptitude (Abnegation = selfless; Erudite = intelligent; Candor = honest; Dauntless = brave; Amity = peaceful). And as we found out from the last film, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her brooding, tatted boyfriend, Four (Theo James) are “divergent,” meaning they don’t conform into any category and are considered extremely dangerous.

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris, her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Four, and Peter (Miles Teller) are on the run from the evil, Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and are now hiding out in the Amity faction. However, this safe house doesn’t last long, Jeanine is hell bent on hunting down every Divergent her squad can get their hands on, and unfortunately for Tris, she’s the “special one” that’s capable of opening up a magical box that supposedly will help Euridites rule the world and get rid of the Divergents forever.

The action sequences may feel forced at times, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable to watch. The first half of Divergent focused on Tris’ training and the real action in that film didn’t happen till the end. It’s nice to jump right into the excitement and watch some entertaining fight scenes. Like the first film, this sequel shows off some breathtaking visual effects, especially when we delve into Tris’ subconscious and try to decipher whether her visions are real or fake.

Insurgent may get criticized for its cheesiness and at times the confusing plot, but just like Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games, Shailene Woodley transcends with her compelling performance as the kick ass heroine. Woodley’s co-stars are adequate. But, even with the addition of Naomi Watts, it’s Miles Teller who shines as the mischievous Peter, providing some much needed comic relief.  I do wish we got to dig deeper with Caleb.  He is clearly a significant character, but yet I feel no attachment or interest towards him. Keep in mind that Caleb is being played by the same guy who had us bawling our eyes out in The Fault In Our Stars. Hopefully we get know and understand Caleb a little better in the next film.

It is possible that I am still reeling off the first film. Divergent was a great movie and took time to really develop the characters which had me already caring for Tris and Four before the movie started. It’s doubtful that Insurgent will be as memorable as the previous film. The premise is simple and is only stretched out by romance and numerous amounts of action. Fans of the series should be satisfied with this sequel, at least for its entertainment value.

The final book, Allegiant will of course be split into two films. Part 1 of this final installment is set to be released in theaters on March 18, 2016.

Insurgent opens in theaters on March 20, 2015.

Rating: 3/5