2015, Movies

The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015, Robert Schwentke)

This film – a film where the title really wants you to know it’s a sequel, in case you’re too dumb to figure that out yourself – begins with a truck with a video of Kate Winslet’s character summarizing the plot of the first movie. It’s literally a Plot Summary Truck. It has to be among the funniest ways of ever seen expository dialogue delivered in a franchise. If these trucks don’t promote outright rebellion among the people of Chicago, I don’t know what will. (Imagine the self-doubt behind this idea. Executive: “What do we do if people come to the film who never watched Divergent? Filmmakers “We have a really subtle way of explaining it, we swear.”)

The origins of this series in teenage dreaming and mythmaking are so constantly obvious but there are few moments that enforce this more than when Octavia Spencer’s character says something like “My office, now!” as if she’s the high school principal. It’s laugh-out-loud funny. I’m sure there were moments like this in the first movie that I missed but it’s so damn glaring in this one. Really, awful dialogue.

There are so many dumb things about this movie. Here’s one example: Tris and Four are running and shooting behind them, and they are in the open, pursued by numerous perpetrators who are in the woods. They hit people in the woods but they are not hit themselves. We’ve all seen so many movies, do any of us really fall for this shit?

The Candor interrogation scene is a good example of how much this film is the product of teenage worldview. They are trying to figure out whether or not the two main characters are telling the truth about whether or not the leader of the city plotted to commit genocide and instead they ask one of them which one individual she killed, as if that was germane to whether or not Winslet’s character is guilty, as if that matters to anyone other than her and a few other characters. But that’s how this works: all that matters is our hero’s experience of the world, and nobody else’s.

Imagine there was some secret that you, as rule of a particular dystopian society, needed to access. But you didn’t know what it was. you’d definitely have the ability and tools to access it immediately, right?

When the “escape” happens, it’s so transparently not an actual escape, the movie does so little to try and hide it. It’s really hilariously mediocre.

The message of “the box” and the closing song are also just soooo bad.

This is one of those movies that I really could have live tweeted. There is so much wrong with it. I was rather charitable to the first one and this one makes me think I shouldn’t have been. This is some young adult dreck if there ever was such a thing.


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