Hey, remember Divergent, that movie that people liked? Well, now there’s Insurgent. It’s a sequel to the original, and for reasons beyond my comprehension, isn’t split into seventeen different parts.
After riding off into the distance on the city’s network of conveniently timed trains, Tris, Four, and a couple other people with equally odd names end up somewhere in Amity, and find refuge there until that guy from the last movie finds them again. Afterwards, they go to wherever the homeless people live, and find that Four’s mother is planning a revolt, but won’t do it without his help, because now she loves him, even though she abandoned him when he was six. Anyway, they go to the lawyers, which is where all of the soldiers are, for some reason, but that place gets shot up. So they go back to the homeless people, and take the soldiers with them. Then, the revolt can finally begin! But no. Janine, the villain who everyone thought they were done with in the first movie, decides to kill a few people my mind controlling them. And then there’s this thing with a box that only divergents can open, and it turns out that people who are good at more than one thing are actually the best of people, not the worst. Huh. Who would’ve figured?
After not liking the first movie, I didn’t really expect that much from the sequel. And was I surprised? Nope. Definitely not. But I did give it a chance. Yes, I did. Anyway, most of the problems that I had with Divergent were present in Insurgent as well, and they were very evident. The characters were all still fairly uninteresting, and were cookie cutter, like from the first movie. None of them were very fleshed out, or had good motivations. I couldn’t understand any of them, and couldn’t get behind them either. Why does that guy betray them? Because he’s bad. Why do the people on the train attack them? Because they’re thugs. Why does Four come back for Tris? Because he loves her. All of this, however, is with the exception of Peter, who was just… the best. I loved his character. He was funny, brave, had just the right tinge of “dickheadery” in him to be fun to follow, and he had some miraculous character development. He had actual character, and I was wondering what he would be doing next, which is a far cry from our star crossed lovers, or anyone else in the movie, for that matter.
The plot was something of a bother, too. There’s this box that only opens for complete divergents. Inside, there is a message from the people who created the city. In the movie, it’s explained that all of that happened around 200 years ago. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll say that the movie takes place in 2215. Now, I’m ignoring the fact that in 2015 we don’t have hologram technology, and that in 2015, we don’t have the technology to make a box that senses factions that we haven’t set up yet, nor does Janine have the ability to sync a 200 year old science fair project with the super advanced tentacle monster she has hiding in the ceiling. And really, where did this box come from? Was it really hiding under the floorboards of two completely random people from Abnegation for 200 years? Really?
On top of that, this movie did nothing new. It failed on the most basic of levels to do what a sequel does. Sequels should not be just the same heroes fighting the same villains in the same setting, with the same goals, and the same general outcome for another two hours. This is pretty much exactly what Insurgent did. Why is it that we are still fighting the same “evil grownup”? Why is it that no new or interesting characters are introduced? Any people who had even the slightest degree of potential to become great supporting characters (ex. the guys on the train) are used as quick, one-off thugs. Essentially, I just watched Divergent again, except for the fact that everyone in the movie acknowledged that the events of Divergent had happened.
The characters are dragged through the most impossible situations. They outrun trained soldiers with full-auto rifles riding on massive trucks. I don’t care if you’re divergent, you can’t do that. Janine’s people miss from five feet away, but Tris and her friends make it to the forest with space to spare. Inside, they dodge the bullets from over twenty soldiers, and make it to the edge, somehow gaining ground without getting themselves killed. Then, (I kid you not) Four turns around, and from around forty feet away, starts picking off people with his gun. I know he definitely kills some of them, and he probably gets at least half of them. The characters are pulled from set piece to set piece, and survive the most improbable of situations, while everyone around them gets shot up.
Even if I overlooked everything previously said, I still cannot ignore all of Insurgents glaring plot holes. In one scene in the movie, Tris and Four go to Candor (the lawyers), to find Dauntless (the soldiers). I cannot for the life of me figure out why Dauntless is hanging out with Candor, as they have a perfectly acceptable base somewhere else in the city. But anyway, Tris and Four meet up with all of their friends, until a whole bunch of people attacked them. (Now that I think about it, there was really no explanation for this. Obviously, it was Janine, but it was never foreshadowed, nor referenced afterwards. It’s as if soldiers just appeared and then disappeared, which in some cases, is exactly what happened.)
These enemies started on the roof, and systematically swept through the entire building, shooting everyone with things that put them to sleep, and also worked as trackers, and mind control devices. Even though I’m still not sure that’s possible in a device the size of your thumb, I’ll let that go, because I need to suspend some disbelief in a fictional setting. But when Tris had been caught by the bad guy, and was about to be killed, dauntless showed up, to save the day. But I thought they were asleep, right? Well, the only two ways that it’s possible for the entirety of Dauntless (175 people, the movie said) to disappear and reappear like that would be that they all were just hiding in a really massive walk-in closet, or that they are all divergent, and therefore immune to the serum, like Tris. Another thing I noticed was that when Dauntless entered the room, all of Janine’s strike team that were there a minute ago seemingly disappeared. Just something to think about.
But the movie isn’t done with that little attack just yet, though. When they all make it back to the factionless alive, (somehow, even though Tris was literally shot in the neck) the bullets that put people to sleep start mind controlling people. This was actually a pretty cool scene, as it was suspenseful, and put some of the characters in danger (even though I didn’t care about any of them), while also setting up the rest of the plot. Janine makes three people jump off of a cliff, and then says that one person will die for every day that Tris hasn’t given herself up. But if she can mind control people, then why not just make Tris come to her? Or why not just make all of dauntless jump off of cliffs?
So yeah, Insurgent has some problems. Some of them are so mind-blowingly massive that I spent a few minutes with my mouth gaping open in the theater, wondering how no one could have caught this while writing the script. And some of Insurgent’s problems are small, but still pretty unforgivable. I don’t like the plot. I think it’s boring, and basic, and this sequel dosen’t do anything new, or make a real attempt to continue the story. The characters (except for Peter, who is excluded from pretty much all of my complaints) are cookie cutter, and do things only to advance what little plot there is. 6 out of 10.
Insurgent is a pretty movie. The special effects are good, and the dream sequences, like the last movie, are fun to watch. If someone puts it on the TV, I won’t walk away, because it’s pleasing to my eyes. But the plot is rehashed. The characters (except for Peter, for whom I have nothing but praise) are boring, and have no real motivations. They exist only to advance the plot. In that instance, the characters are not playing inside the plot, the plot is playing with the characters. The truth is, if you like Divergent, you’ll like Insurgent. If you didn’t like Divergent, you won’t like Insurgent. I didn’t like Divergent.