Insurgent was originally meant to be called The Divergent Series: Insurgent and boy am I glad they changed that. Just plain Insurgent continues the story of Tris (Shailene Woodley), the Katniss of the Divergent world. She's, uh, escaped the clutches of, uh, her home and, uh, is now planning to, uh, return back to, uh, take revenge because who knows why? But then on the other end of the spectrum is Jeanine (Kate Winslet), the leader of Panem, oh uh I mean all the factions. She's found some sort of, uh, box and in it is, uh, something she wants and the only way to open it is to, uh, get a divergent to, uh, do some things. And yeah, uh, that's about it.
I liked the first Divergent film. I know that it's nothing spectacular and I'm aware of how unbelievably tedious and stupid it can be and how long the runtime was, but I had fun with it. The trailers for Insurgent didn't sell me though. They were confusing and dumb and didn't intrigue me in the least. But here I am, coming back with my thoughts on the movie... because I actually sat through this rubbish. What was set up at the end of the first movie is now completely disregarded, although that's far from the only thing this movie ignores. It literally ignores everything about the first. All logic, all character development, all motives. Why? I'm still trying to figure that out.
Before I drown you all in negativity, I must first point out this film's two redeeming factors. It's not much, but it does indeed bump the film up from a 1 star rating, and it definitely does put it miles ahead of Tak3n AKA the film we do not speak of. Shailene Woodley gives it her all. She's just as adorable and just as badass the first time around, if not a little more badass. Her performance is great. It's not Spectacular Now great, but it's pretty great. She looks like she wants to be here, even if the rest of the cast don't. Then there's the cinematography, and to my surprise, it's actually filmed quite well. The action is watchable and the dialogue cinematic. It's fine. And that's all, folks. That's all the positives in this god-awful piece of trash.
While Tris is slightly more badass, the action has gone decreased in both quantity and quality. I wouldn't necessarily describe the first film as being action-heavy, but there were more than a few decent, heart racing moments, particularly towards the third act. It was exciting and fun, and that's all I ask for in movies like this. With Insurgent, there's nearly no action. It's boring, melodramatic politics, family drama and also, surprisingly enough, it's part mystery movie too, although the odds of that being unintentional are very high.
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realise that this film isn't trying to be a mystery/thriller movie. It's not trying to hold back information from its audience. All of that happens on its own. This film should've been simple. It shouldn't have been nearly as hard to follow, and not in an Inherent Vice sort of way, which was an interestingly muddled movie. This is just muddled. It's a mess. It changes plots every few minutes, introduces characters who are seemingly important, only to disregard them minutes later, is full of plot holes and is so unbelievably dumb that it almost hurt to watch, although again, not literal pain like in Tak3n.
The main plot of this film, or at least what is suggested to be the main plot by the trailer, revolves around this box that Kate Winslet's character finds. Why does she want this box? Who knows. What's inside it? Who cares. Why can only divergent's open it? Well, actually they do explain that in the final few minutes, but it's the stupidest, most irritating explanation possible. It's the dumb ending of The Maze Runner on steroids, except even more illogical. This film doesn't let the audience in on anything and by the time the film ends, I was on the verge of becoming a mass-murdering maniac hellbent on destroying everyone who worked on the film. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I think you get the point.
Speaking of Kate Winslet, let's discuss her "character" in this movie, or at least I hear it's a character. Her motives are completely unclear, her dialogue literally had me laughing and her performance is just as lazy. She's in the movie for god-knows-what-reason and then she's given a one-dimensional character to work with. And she's not the only one. Octavia Spencer, clearly not watching Neil Patrick Harris' box anymore, manages to squeeze in a few minutes of screen time in a role so unimportant that Liam Neeson is laughing all the way from the set of A Million Ways To Die in the West.
To sum up, Insurgent manages to disregard everything from the first film to bring us a poorly written, convoluted, unbelievably stupid sequel with paper thin characters who are occasionally saved by decent performances. Occasionally.
1 1/2 Stars