The plot and politics are a bit ? (the climactic jail confrontation could’ve been unpacked more) but everything else is !–the tunes (Nirvana and also the emotive, ever-present score), the turns, and especially the unique tone, with its sly layer of superhero cheese underneath the super-serious noir (see the heavy exposition between Batman and Gordon) and moody character study (see the bookending voiceovers). Great ending (see the rethinking of “I’m vengeance” and then the silent ride together).
Pretty rough (easy pickin’s). The friend chemistry is barely there and most jokes land as awkwardly as the stripper did when Alice jumped on him, and he died–an incident which, incidentally, wasn’t handled as roughly and insensitively as I initially feared (the unexpected twist/reveal helps soften the blow). On that note, the wild plot’s the best thing about the film, but with mostly bland drama and cringe-y comedy filling in the gaps between points, you’re still just waiting for it to end.
After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent, Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago, to finally discover the shocking truth of the world around them. (IMDb)
A great soundtrack makes things sound epic right from the tense first scene; unfortunately, it never gets substantiated by a story riddled with predictable (and sometimes confounding–see their premature celebration on top of the wall; letting Peter go at the end) characters (you knew David had a bad side), far-fetched revelations (see the genetic experiment) and technology (see the seemingly unlimited surveillance system), and contrived exposition (see the dialogue; Bureau entrance video).
Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side. (IMDb)
The second installment looks even better than the first with some really cool scenes from the “sims” in particular. Woodley is solid again and her character’s personal plight remains captivating, while Teller is fantastic as a bad guy/good guy/jerk and Winslet is again a great villain. All of that said, the film’s overload of easy and implausible plot movements throughout distracts from the great characters and prevents it from reaching the same level as its predecessor.
In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late. (IMDb)
The dystopian rebellion premise is definitely familiar, but Divergent pulls it off well, effortlessly immersing you in its world and engaging you in its interesting societal issues. On occasion the plot’s plausibility comes into question but the film’s cool slick look and exciting storyline make you dismiss any issues. Woodley is a great protagonist, tainted only by Jones’ eye-roller of a romantic interest, and the supporting cast is also solid in this enjoyable sci-fi thriller.
7.5/10 (Really Good)