Last year Divergent didn’t really make too much of a fuss, I’d same about the same amount of people who had issues with it enjoyed it. I was one of those who enjoyed the film, and after a re-watch I concluded that it is a pretty solid Young Adult film. I was actually fairly excited for Insurgent, as I don’t know the story and the trailers made it look action-packed.
Insurgent ends up being as enjoyable, or maybe even a little more so, than Divergent, there is certainly progression here which is what I love to see in a sequel. As some of the cast members have said, Divergent was a lot about the characters and they had to develop them whereas Insurgent is more plot focused. I’d agree with this but I’m not sure if it worked fully. Divergent was great at developing its characters, definitely a strength of that film and I feel that when compared this is where Insurgent falls down slightly. I honestly don’t think there was a bad thing about Insurgent but not everything included reached its full potential. There were a few relationships and themes, some carried through from the first film and some new, that could have done with more focus and attention. For example the brother sister relationship between Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) needed more development. We meet a lot of new characters in this film too, one of the most important is Evelyn (Naomi Watts). I’m not sure if it was poor character writing or possible miscasting in the form of Watts but I felt this character should have had much more presence and impact on the film. Kate Winslet returns to play Jeanine again, the villain of the franchise so far. My thoughts on her haven’t changed since Divergent, she is a weak villain. She needs to be more of a bitch, you just don’t hate her the way that you should do. I realise that sounds like a lot of negativity, but I’m just being picky because it was a great film. The points I have mentioned are things that I felt could have been improved just as everything was solid it just could have been pushed a little further to reach full potential.
There were plenty of things that I thought maybe did meet their full potential though. One performance that stood out to me was Miles Teller as Peter. Fresh from his Whiplash success I am sure a lot of eyes will be on this young actor whilst watching this film, he doesn’t disappoint. Peter is a great character for Teller to play and it offers him a lot of variety in terms of acting opportunities, I really enjoyed his involvement here. As I have said the film takes a noticeable step up from the last film and it feels a lot more mature, the romance element is handled well and never drags. This was a relief as Young Adult films can be hit or miss when it comes to this. The action scenes are much better in this film too, there aren’t that many extended sequences but the scenes of action are frequent and well executed. Insurgent has a great pace to it due to these action scenes and the surprising nature of some other scenes. The dynamics of the group that we were left with at the end of Divergent are always engaging and there is plenty of opportunity for entertainment exploited here in Insurgent through this group, an element that I am sure will continue to intrigue me in the next film. Like Divergent, Insurgent finished in a way that was satisfying but leaves the story wide open for new adventure and direction in terms of plot. No doubt we will be getting a two-parter for the final installment but that honestly wouldn’t bother me as Insurgent has left me excited for what is to come.
Insurgent builds nicely on the foundation that was Divergent. Everything is good but there were a lot of elements that could have been improved, none more so than some character development. This installment is noticeably more action-packed but this is welcomed as these scenes always entertained me. There is a lot going on in this film in terms of plot, characters and themes and Insurgent does a good job to wrap it up nicely in this good looking two hour adventure. However I would have had no complaints if it had of taken an extra twenty minutes to flesh out some of the aspects that I felt were a little short of reaching their potential. Nonetheless a really entertaining movie which fans of Divergent should thoroughly enjoy.
Rating – 8.5/10