‘Insurgent’ Review Roundup: ‘Divergent’ Sequel Premieres To Tepid Reviews
Divergent Series: Insurgent, returns Shailene Woodley and Theo James as societal outliers in the dystopian world that they inhabit, who are trying to defend themselves against the oppressive government run by Jeanine (Kate Winslet).
In Insurgent, Tris and Four are actively on the run from Jeanine and in search of fellow Divergents to join their cause against her. Part of their mission is to determine what Tris’ parents had sacrificed their lives to protect – and why Jeanine and the other Erudites don’t want them to find the answer to that question.
The action-packed sequel has divided critics about whether or not it’s an improvement or a step down from the first film in the series. However, most were less than impressed with the latest adaptation of Veronica Roth‘s young adult fiction.
“Improvement, however slight, can be detected as Divergent morphs into Insurgent onscreen. There’s less exposition, more action and a discernible spark in the acting that was missing before. But let’s face it, the trilogy of young-adult novels that Veronica Roth cooked up to rival The Hunger Games never loses the stale odor of also-ran. […] . It seems odd that a movie that celebrates divergence would conform so rigidly to formula.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“It’s tempting to say that “Insurgent is less resurgent than regurgent, which may not be a proper word but still suggests throwing up more of the same. Yet this sci-fi action adventure goes beyond the same-old, lame-old tedium of the first film. “Insurgent” opens new horizons of repetitiveness, dramatic shapelessness, self-seriousness and a generalized oppressiveness that flows from all of the above as well as from visual clutter, cheerless color, 3-D dimness and plain old bad acting.” – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
“Taken for what it is, Insurgent is a vast improvement over the franchise’s first installment, mostly thanks to expansion in two arenas: budget and scope. Often, the two are one and the same, as the action moves from the handful of cheap-looking Dauntless sets to the rather complex, built-out worlds of the other factions. The straightforward dialogue scenes never last too long, explicitly laying out everyone’s motivations and carrying us through to the next action sequence—each of which gets some serious help from [director] Robert Schewentke.” – Kevin Sullivan, Entertainment Weekly
“I know this doesn’t make any sense,” insists Shailene Woodley’s Tris at a key moment in The Divergent Series: Insurgent. That sentiment pretty much sums up this listless sequel This second installment feels cobbled together and less focused than 2014’s Divergent, and lacks tension and excitement. Woodley and James seem merely to be going through the motions. Their ultra-seriousness, combined with lackluster performances, add up to a dreary experience for viewers.” – Claudia Puig, USA Today
Insurgent is currently in wide release.