Insurgent an ‘urgent sequel’

Gavin Gaddis

Insurgent – the second film in the Divergent quadrilogy – is worth watching. It will not break box office records or grab people who have never seen the first film or read the books. It works for what it is: the middle part of a larger story.

Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley -“The Fault in Our Stars”) is on the run from an authoritarian government slowly being overtaken by an evil Kate Winslet. I really don’t see the point in giving a plot synopsis, you’re going to see it if you saw the first film, or you’re seeing it because your boyfriend or girlfriend is dragging you to see it.

The negative points of this review might seem to take the forefront, a fact that is purely because the strong points of this film lie in the set-pieces and plot points, neither of which translate well to a text review.

I did find myself irked with the lacsidasical construction of the plot. At any point one can expect random side characters to literally walk out of the film for up to an hour.

Scenes that feel like the director wanted a big “oh my, it’s ___!” reaction from the audience are met with “Oh, that guy, I forgot he was in this movie.”

One failing point of the Divergent series as a whole is a lack of scale. By selecting a real-world location, I find it impossible to become immersed in the idea that this movie affects a significant number of people.

Each faction appears to consist of, at most, four hundred people. It’s hard to invest any sort of “the fate of the world rests on you” gravitas in Beatrice when all five factions could probably easily fit in Eastland Mall, although it’d be nearly impossible to get into Hot Topic once all the Dauntless kids crowd inside.

The entire civilization is nothing more than downtown Chicago and a few outlying suburbs.

With an easily accessible train and relatively clean streets, any able-bodied character can travel anywhere in their world within a day.

Super-strong fast characters can travel several miles in five minutes, or take half the movie to travel six blocks if the plot requires.

A running trend for middle films in trilogies is to end the story in an incredibly cliff-hanger teasing manner to set up the final installment.

While I agree that films have to market themselves to some extent, one has to wonder if there really is any point in producing a standalone title simply to advertise the thrilling finale.

The traditional structure of a film story consists of a beginning, a middle low point and a triumphant end point. The best example of a good middle-movie structure being “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.”

While not comparable to the pop culture zeitgeist that is “Star Wars,” Insurgent fully realizes that audiences want a legitimate story that has some sort of closure in the final scene.

Without sharing any spoilers I can assure you, dear reader, that the ending of Insurgent is very satisfying and ends on powerful note.

While bogged down by forgettable padding, interesting plot devices that ultimately have no payoff and phoned-in performances, Insurgent delivers a fun action experience, and there is some fun to be had in watching familiar characters run through their paces.