Robert Schwentke directs the 2015 sequel to the first movie in the Divergent series for Lionsgate. Like the first movie, “Insurgent” follows along the same path the books take – for most of the film. More on that later (Spoiler alert – This would be a good place to stop reading if you don’t want the plot revealed). The feel of this installment is very similar to the first one. The main characters are played by the same actors as the first film. Shailene Woodley plays Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior and Theo James returns as Tobias ‘Four’ Eaton. This film takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, in and around what used to be Chicago. This location is the same as in the first film.
Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris and Four are on the run after surviving the attack on Abnegation by Erudite-controlled soldiers from the Dauntless faction. They have been joined by Peter (played by Miles Teller) and Caleb (played by Ansel Elgort), all of them hiding in the Amity-controlled section of the city.
Jeanine Matthews, the head of Erudite (played by Kate Winslet), has been trying to break into a box that was taken in the attack on Abnegation. They have figured out that the box can only be opened through a sim and by a Divergent. The problem is that every Divergent they have used to try and open the box has died in the process. Erudite has hypothesized that they will need a very powerful Divergent to succeed. They announce to their soldiers that all Divergents must be identified and captured. They synthesize a new sim-serum that can be fired out of guns. This serum affects the Divergents differently than the rest of the population which allows them to be identified and captured.
This departure from the books made it pretty clear that the producers of this film franchise wanted to end the series at two. In addition to ending at two films, the changes also allowed them to end on a higher note than the books.
Back at Amity compound, Peter sells the other three out to the Erudite controlled soldiers when they attack with the new serum. In the ensuing fight/chase, Tris, Four and Caleb all escape on a train headed for the city center. On the train they are confronted by a group of Factionless that try to throw them off of the train. Four reveals his given name of Tobias Eaton to get the Factionless to stand down. It turns out that his mother is the leader of the Factionless.
Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (played by Naomi Watts) and Four have a very acrimonious reunion. Four is furious that his mother allowed everyone to believe that she was dead. Because of this he feels abandoned. Evelyn believed she needed to do so for her own protection. Regardless of the past, Evelyn asks Four to find the rest of the Dauntless and aligning them with the Factionless in a united fight against Erudite. She tells Tris and Four that the balance of the Dauntless can be found at Candor’s headquarters. When Tris and Four arrive, they are promptly arrested.
Four convinces Jack Kang, the head of Candor (played by Daniel Dae Kim), to let Tris and himself be tried in Candor court, using Candor truth serum. Under questioning Tris admits killing her friend Will (played by Ben Lloyd-Hughes) during the original Erudite attack. This admission adds yet another layer of drama to her group of friends. Tris and Four are released shortly before Erudite attacks, again, under the guise of looking for Divergents. Tris is captured and eventually rescued by Four. The attack is enough to convince Four and Tris to align with the Factionless.
As Tris, Four and the rest of Dauntless are preparing to counter-attack with the Factionless, the Erudite faction activates a latent mind-control serum that was administered as part of the last attack. This mind-control serum is similar to the one used on Dauntless in the original battle. Three Dauntless are thus controlled. They chant that there will be more that try to commit suicide every day until Tris Prior turns herself in to Erudite. Ultimately Tris and Christina (played by Zoe Kravitz) rescue two of the three that try to jump off a ledge. The third dies upon impact with the concrete floor.
The suicides have the desired effect and Tris leaves the Factionless to turn herself in to Erudite. There she is put into a sim to try and unlock the mysterious box. This is also where the film parts ways with the book series. After trying for several days, Tris is on the brink of opening the box when she is rescued by Four – again. This time with the unlikely help of Peter. Rather than running away, Tris chooses to go back and finish opening the box. Once she does, a message is revealed that crumbles the very foundation of the factions. Once the message is transmitted city wide the war ends. The message also sets everyone free from the city.
This departure from the books made it pretty clear that the producers of this film franchise wanted to end the series at two. In addition to ending at two films, the changes also allowed them to end on a higher note than the books. In my opinion, the producers chose wisely.
The Divergent series of books is a look at one potential future of the human race. The future presented is dark and holds little hope. The Film versions of the Divergent story are also bleak. The difference is that they gave a glimmer of hope and attempt to present a scenario that has meaning and a positive goal.
About Brian Hill
Brian Hill is a home theater enthusiast who has an extensive background in sales. His interests include music & movies, F1 & NASCAR auto racing, hot rods (he has a '56 Nomad) and hockey — Go Sharks!
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