This insurgent's more insipid than inspiring

RELUCTANT HEROINE: There is little character development for female lead Tris (Woodley) and company. She, like too many young-adult heroines, spends longish periods avoiding her destiny as a leader, choosing to wallow in self-doubt.


    Mar 19, 2015

    This insurgent's more insipid than inspiring



    Sci-fi/119 minutes/Opens today

    Rating: 3/5

    The story:

    Tris (Shailene Woodley) is on the run following the attack on Abnegation coordinated by the Erudite faction, as seen in Divergent (2014). Along with Four (Theo James) and other members of Dauntless, she takes shelter on a farm run by Amity. But Erudite forces led by Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) are on a manhunt. Tris is made a special target because she is Divergent, an undesirable with a hybrid of traits.

    IN THE first movie (Divergent, 2014), Tris (Shailene Woodley) is shown to be bright, brave and strong. Here, she is shown to be slightly brighter, braver and stronger.

    That is to say, there is little character development. Tris, along with lover Four (Theo James) and everyone else, has not grown more complex or interesting in the four hours it has taken to tell the story thus far.

    The only perceivable point of progress is that, more than ever, people around Tris state the centrality of her role in the coming social upheaval, a responsibility to which she responds with the correct amount of humility and embarrassment.

    If the first movie was a Star Wars-style coming-of-age piece - a young person discovers she is The Chosen One and begins a journey of self-discovery - then this one feels more like an action-oriented placeholder that sets the stage for the two-part finale.

    There are clear derivations from The Matrix (1999) and anime Ghost In The Shell (1995), especially the scenes in which Tris fights battles in virtual reality while nestled in a tangle of hoses suspending her in mid-air.

    In between the battles and chases that occur in both the real and unreal worlds, there are slower moments.

    As is usual in young-adult land, Four exists mainly as a protector and emotional echo chamber for the female lead character.

    In what is becoming another young-adult genre cliche, Tris opens up to her boyfriend about her pain and lack of self-confidence.

    She, like too many young-adult heroines, spends longish periods avoiding her destiny as a leader, choosing to wallow in self-doubt, and is moved to action only after checking the feelings of people around her.