A Sustainable Arc: A Review of ‘Insurgent’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 20, 2015

When telling a long arcing story over the course of a few movies, there is always bound to be a few bumps in the road.  However when the quality of the storytelling is not only maintained but even improved, it gives you hope for the ultimate conclusion.  Insurgent this second installment in the Divergent series still leans on its leads a little bit more than it should but it is a solid action filled piece of storytelling that is giving fans hope for the final installments.

As the Erudite take charge and the power hungry Jeanine (Kate Winslet) is searching high and low for Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) who are now on the run planning their next move.  With time running out, they discover that Tris’ parents were protecting an artifact which ultimately cost them their lives and it is one that Erudite will do anything to get their hands on.  Haunted by her indecision and the choices that she has made, Tris with Four by her side has to jump through some impossible hurdles to not only overcome her fears but also unlock the truth about their societies past which will answer so many unanswered questions about their future.


While I’ll be the first to admit that this is a story with the primary function of getting us hooked for the final two installments, Insurgent works well enough as it never gets bogged down in any unnecessary moments of exposition or explanation and keeps us engaged with plenty of action as our heroes ultimately come to their final conclusion.

Director Robert Schwentke takes over the franchise reigns from Neil Burger and for the most part really doesn’t miss a beat.  Burger in the first installment set us up with the high minded ideals and concepts of the story while Schwentke is a far steadier hand when it comes to action, since the story movies at a slightly better pace this time around with the characters and the major plotline already well established.  The script is serviceable but not very flashy as we are forced to embrace fairly early on that we are simply in the middle of this three act story, but under the watchful eye of the experienced Akiva Goldsman , it does what it has to do, get us interested in the final two part installment of Allegiant, in spite of the occasional logic hiccup or moment of clunky dialogue.

Insurgent-Movie-PicturesBoth Woodley and James are more than adapt at carrying a movie and they prove it once again here, and while the story focus rests on them, things open up so we have more distinct characters on the playing field.  While on the run our heroes meet up with the Factionless led by Naomi Watts who happens to be Four’s mother, with Jonny Weston as one of her main soldiers.  As well as the leaders of other factions like Daniel Dae Kim and Octavia Spencer who navigate through the politics of it all as these two run for their lives and Tris truly embraces what it means to be Divergent.

Ultimately, Insurgent manages something fairly rare as it gives us some slight improvements on the original while making sure we stayed hooked for the end of this cinematic ride.  It’s not flashy but it’s  more than functional.

  • Release Date: 3/20/2015
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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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