Movie Review – Divergent
Trends among teenagers obviously have a lot of pull in the entertainment industry, and films like Divergent would not exist without precursors, such as The Hunger Games. Sure, The Hunger Games has made for two pretty good films, thus far, but do we really need 20 other movies that feature 22 year old teenagers killing the government!?! I mean, do we really need a story to help us understand that teenagers are rebellious? Personally, I don’t get it. The vampire trend I got. The zombie trend I got. I just can’t say the same for the teenage rebellion trend. Needless to say, my expectations were not particularly high. However, I didn’t expect it to be much worse or better than The Hunger Games or Catching Fire.
So, my Hunger Games-esque expectations pretty much hit the nail on the head. Don’t get me wrong… I was entertained. At the same time, I didn’t really care what happened to the characters, which is not a good thing, in case you were wondering. My biggest issue was with the large number of character plotlines that just didn’t make much sense, such as Tori, Jeanine, and Al, who I will talk about more in the character section. However, I liked that there was no love-triangle! A love story is good, but I HATE love-triangles, mostly because they are so darn predictable. I mean, did anyone actually think that Bella was going to end up with Jacob?… The answer is NO! Additionally, the willingness of Divergent’s author to kill pretty much anybody that she saw fit was quite enjoyable. I know my opinion is not popular, but I love when people die in dramatic movies or TV shows, because it adds so much edge to the story. I’ve said these things before, but Divergent was downright ruthless, so it’s worth noting.
Well, Oscar season is long gone, and it’s time to transition from great characters and low-grossing films to mediocre characters and big blockbusters, which is exactly what Divergent offered. Of course, the talented Shailene Woodley did an adequate job of portraying Tris that is sure to please teenage girls all over the world. Honestly, she was no better or worse than Jennifer Lawrence was in the first two Hunger Games films. These roles just aren’t meant to blow people away, and they don’t.
The consistently bad guy who was always there to be mean to Tris, Eric (played by Macklemore… I mean Jai Courtney), made Kate Winslet’s Jeanine completely unnecessary. I have been told that she is actually in the book, which makes the fact that she was worthless a lot, lot, lot worse, but oh well… The one character that I am not conflicted about is Tori, played by Maggie Q, who was the strangest filler character that may have ever appeared in a movie. Tori was basically the queen of multi-tasking, as she served as a nurse, a tattoo artist, and a political activist, all within the realm of two hours. Considering the fact that the entire film was about the government dictating what ONE job you would be doing for the rest of your life, I found it extremely ironic that this important character had like twelve different jobs.
Having seen The Spectacular Now, 21 and Over, and Project X, I’ve been nothing but underwhelmed by Miles Teller. Fortunately, as Peter, he redeemed himself in what was the absolute perfect role for his repertoire. Hopefully, Teller will continue along this path, starting with his Sundance hit, Whiplash, which I can’t wait to see.
While I didn’t really hate Divergent, it was quite underwhelming, and the flaws in the storyline were just blatant. Honestly, I’m surprised that this series of books became so popular, considering how poorly written the story seemed to be. Will I go watch the sequel?… Probably so. As I said, I was entertained by what happened during the film. I just didn’t really care what would happen. Hopefully, the holes in the plot will be sewn up in the sequel, but I’m not really counting on it. For now, I would suggest sticking with The Hunger Games. At least you get Stanley Tucci! I give Divergent 2.45 out of 5 stars.
Set in the future, Divergent is focused on exploring the possibilities of a society controlled by the government and how horrible such a life may be. Although these issues are sure to come to light even more in the next film, anyone can plainly see that the inhabitants of Divergent’s world are blind to the fact that the government has them under control. Unfortunately, our nation is similarly moving away from our roots and toward the ways of Divergent, where everyone is forced to accept the government’s ways (examples: healthcare, minimum wage, NSA surveillance, etc.). Obviously, the government is a necessary part of society, but the United States should heed the warning that films like Divergent and The Hunger Games have recently provided for us.
Aside from violence, Divergent is a fairly family-friendly film (say that 5 times fast!), with only a fair amount of language and no sexual content that I can recall. I know that many parents do not mind introducing PG-13-esque violence to their children. If you are one of those parents, I would certainly suggest Divergent as a film for the entire family.
Originally published on The Average Critic