By Nico Beland
Movie Review: D (2 stars)
I am so sick to death of these two-part film finales to young adult fantasy novels, don’t get me wrong there are good films based on books that do this such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. And yeah this is a gimmick because the filmmakers and studio just want their money, but the filmmakers put a lot of effort into making the last two Harry Potter and Hunger Games movies and are entertaining movies on their own as well as together.
Then there’s the multiple part film based on books that don’t have enough character or story to fill two movies, or even three movies. I’m jumping the gun a bit here, these are the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn type of 2-part movies, where it’s just extended to boost profits for the studio, and Part 1 was bad, and Part 2 was uhhhh, bad, so 2-part movies aren’t always the way to go.
So if Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and even The Hobbit trilogy can split one book into multiple movies, it was only a matter of time before Veronica Roth’s final Divergent novel would get the treatment. And wouldn’t you believe it, it followed in those footsteps, Veronica Roth’s Allegiant book, the final novel in her Divergent series got the 2-part treatment, under the names The Divergent Series: Allegiant and The Divergent Series: Ascendant (Seriously?).
Obviously if you’ve read my reviews for the other Divergent movie reviews, you probably already know that I thought the first two films were adequate. Yes I agree both Divergent and Insurgent have a lot of problems and they do rehash other films and books in the genre, they at least had a distinct look, a few differences from other young adult books (though nothing big), some decent chemistry from its two leads, and some fun action.
I haven’t read any of the books, but I tolerated the first two movies in terms of being entertaining movies. They’re just dumb, fun action movies that have some decent characters, if I wanted gripping action that’ll keep me on the edge of my seat and strong plot development in my book to film adaptations I’ll go watch a Harry Potter or Hunger Games movie.
But all good (or okay) things must have a downfall, in comes The Divergent Series: Allegiant, the third installment of the Divergent film franchise. Unlike the first two movies, Allegiant is very standard and generic in action and the plot constantly rehashes other movies and books, and not even Faction rebels, Tris Pryor (Shailene Woodley-The Descendants, The Spectacular Now, The Fault In Our Stars) and Four (Theo James-Downton Abbey, Underworld: Awakening) have enough screen time together to help me get through this clichéd screenplay that recycles from other movies including their own.
Ruthless Faction leader, Jeanine is dead (Yeah, little spoiler from the last movie!) and Four’s mother, Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (Naomi Watts-The Ring, 21 Grams, King Kong), the leader of the Factionless now controls Jeanine’s old empire in hopes of erasing the Faction system. Meanwhile our Divergent heroes, Tris, Four, and their friends, Christina (Zoe Kravitz-X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dope), Tori (Maggie Q-Jackie Chan Presents: Metal Mayhem, Mission: Impossible III, Live Free or Die Hard), Peter (Miles Teller-The Spectacular Now, Whiplash, Fantastic Four), and Tris’ brother, Caleb (Ansel Elgort-Carrie, The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns) in hopes of forgiveness (Ahem, Insurgent!) take off to find out the truth behind the wall separating the Chicago dystopia from the rest of the world to search for a peaceful solution to a battle beginning to rise between the Factions and Factionless.
Shortly after making it outside the wall, they soon learn shocking truths behind what happened to the world from the leader of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, David (Jeff Daniels-Newsroom, Looper, The Martian), the organization responsible for the Faction experiment in Chicago. As the battle that could threaten humanity escalates, Tris and Four must decide who they can really trust to survive and will have to make difficult choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love in order to save their home.
Overall, The Divergent Series: Allegiant is by far the weakest installment of the Divergent franchise, I’m not calling it the worst I’ve seen or anything like that, but compared to Divergent and Insurgent, it’s rather underwhelming. The action sequences are just standard action that we’ve seen a million times before, the plot constantly rehashes clichés and plot devices from other movies, first it’s like The Hunger Games, then it becomes Mad Max: Fury Road, then it becomes X-Men (mainly because the Bureau looks exactly like Charles Xavier’s lair), and the characters are developed in a very lackluster way, and not enough screen-time of Tris and Four together.
The film even decides to rehash old clichés from the other Divergent movies, even with Kate Winslet’s character from the previous two films killed off, both Naomi Watts and Jeff Daniels practically rehash what she did in the other two movies, you could have just replaced them with two Kate Winslet clones, and then there’s Peter’s character remember Miles Teller in Insurgent, he does the exact same thing he did in the second movie here as well, seriously can this guy just pick an identity and stick with it?
But with that said, Shailene Woodley and Theo James, whenever they do have screen-time together, they undeniably have decent chemistry, they’re basically the only cool characters throughout the entire thing, also one or two action scenes I thought were neat, and Miles Teller can get a good laugh once in a while. Unfortunately, I just felt this installment was really lacking, which is odd because I didn’t feel the earlier movies to be very strong either, if you’re not already a fan of these movies, this won’t change anything.
It’s just an underwhelming installment to a mediocre franchise, and a perfect example of a two-part movie that didn’t need to be made, hopefully The Divergent Series: Ascendant will fix the problems I have here. Because as is, this makes me want a Faction to separate me from this movie.