Review – “Insurgent” – too much focus on visual effects, not enough on the plot

insurgent poster

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, and Octavia Spencer
Director: Robert Schwentke
Rated: PG-13
Movie Page:

In the second movie of the Divergent Saga, Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley) are on the run from Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and Dauntless. They both learn fast that the war is bigger then the two of them and the choices that they make can shape not only theirs, but everyone’s lives in the factions.

Wathcing this movie should come with a warning label to those who are fans of the book because this adaptation has so many changes, that it’s hard to see the story that we feel in love with in there.

Divergent in a lot of ways is very similar to The Hunger Games and it’s apparent that they are set out to make audiences realize that. That is why this movie was made in 3D and for IMAX. Well, they succeeded in doing that, but they may have gone too far.

But we will get to that later.

Let’s start off with noting that this review comes from a fan of the book so some aspects of opinion come from the love of the book and wanting to see adapted.


The bright spots. Miles Teller. He is able to bring a seemingly insignificant and unlikeable character in Peter, and make him one of the characters that we love in the movie. He flip flops throughout the movie thinking about himself (like in the book) but his humor and one-liners are what make him stand out. He breaks the tension in a lot of scenes and helps entertain the audiences during some of the slower scenes.

The visual effects were a plus to the movie, especially in the stimulation. Roth has these dynamic and complex scenes when Tris is under that it made book fans nervous about how it would come out on screen. The increase in visual effects gave the movie a futuristic, dystopia feeling which was kind of lacking in the first movie.

The strongest part of the movie was the chemistry of Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four. In this section of the overall story, Four and Tris’s relationship gets challenged regularly as the war between Evelyn and Jeanine brews. Tris wants to stop the war while Four wants to just keep Tris safe from being involved. They butt heads a lot because they are both stubborn and passionate about what they believe, but their love comes through one another as they use each other for strength.

Now for the negatives.

It was hard to form into words what I felt after leaving the movie theater. After leaving Divergent, I was angry because of all the changes they made to a book series I loved. Knowing that, I lowered my standards some but it still didn’t help with my overall feeling for the story.

The special effects were a good addition to the story, but having more special effects left less room for the actual plot of the series. They took out a lot of the plot points and it will be hard for fans who didn’t read the book to understand what is going on.

insurgent 5

Obviously with adaptations, you can’t have everything from the book in the movie, but the overall point of the story should be present. And in this movie it wasn’t. The characters Marcus, Evelyn, the Factionless, and Christina were under developed because the movie focused more on the final stimulation of Tris. That took a good 30-40 minutes of the movie and could have accomplished the same thing in about 10 minutes. The only good thing that came out of this was more of an understanding of Jeanine and her motives.

The biggest thing that the adaptation failed to bring from the book was the twist at the end. The whole ending changed and this is going to be a hard pill to swallow. The ending of Insurgent was one of the biggest twists of this type of books and the fact that they left it out was devastating. The movie set up for more changes in Allegiant pt 1 and 2 (which might work in its favor because I didn’t like the last book) and hopefully they can find the happy medium of the first two movies and leave the fans feeling satisfied, unlike how the book left the fans.

The movie was able to accomplish what they wanted by adding more visual effects. It steps away from being compared to The Hunger Games and stands on its own. But in order to do that, they had to fall behind in adaptation. Maybe they should have took a leaf out of The Hunger Games success and notice that the reason why it’s so accepted to the fans is because it’s loyal and embraces the story it has, not try to be something it isn’t.

Book viewer rating: C-
Movie viewer rating: C+

What did you think of the movie?



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