It’s hard for me to think of a movie I was ever as excited for as Insurgent. I get excited for movies easily, but this was on a whole new level. Rarely do I ever go see a movie on its opening weekend. I tend to wait for the crowds die down so I can sit where I want. But with this one I just couldn’t wait. I had to see it.
As someone who has read the books, I know there are a lot of major changes between the two. I know that probably doesn’t make people happy. That said I am going to try to keep this review as book free as possible and keep it just about the movie because by itself, it is amazing. Once you start thinking about all the changes then it starts to be about something that it could have been and I don’t want to make it into that.
First I want to start by saying that even though it is classified in the young adult genre this movie is could definitely be for anyone older. They aren’t just teenagers having to save the world, they really could be any age.
In two short hours they were able to cover a lot of ground, which was a little daunting (ha!) at first. The movie takes place three days after Tris and Four escaped the Dauntless compound after stopping Jeanine’s simulation over the Dauntless members. Jeanine’s lackeys have found a box that contains important information that only a Divergent can open, requiring one to go through four tests for each of the factions, but as we find out later in the film it doesn’t take just any ol’ Divergent because they aren’t all the same.
I was so happy to get to see each of the other factions in this movie. They were just as imagined them to be. Amity with their tree and peaceful atmosphere made even a not so nature person like myself want to be there. Candor with its stark clean buildings, which provided a nice contrast to the dark damp Factionless. The Factionless were more like a community than we originally were made to believe from the first movie. Then there is Erudite that is the tallest building in the center of the city. It was interesting to see all these places compare against each other as well as Dauntless and Abnegation from Divergent.
One of my favorite parts was the simulations. They were so intense and beautifully done. There was even a time when I forgot we were watching a simulation. I loved it when they were breaking up and just everything was turning to debris even more than the city already was. Especially when Tris realized Four was fake and he started breaking up into pieces that looked like glass. The breaking glass was one of the images from the first movie and it was so nice to see it carried over into this film as well. When Tris fights herself, when we really get to see how she has seen herself, it is one of my favorite scenes; to see her change not just to pass the Amity simulation, but she also learns to truly forgive herself. It was such a beautiful scene for something that she had been struggling with and something that is so hard to do.
I think that Insurgent really elevated the characters to new levels so that they were able to become something more than just the badasses they already were. The cast is one of the best casts I have seen and I can’t think of anyone else playing these characters. Shailene Woodley and Theo James have such an amazing onscreen chemistry. Ansel Elgort was able to turn sweet looking Caleb with his funny run into someone that is able to deceive the sister everyone thought he loved.
Tris continues to be the same strong female character that is now becoming even more complex now that she is dealing with the guilt of her parents death and killing Will. Even the bad guy characters like Eric and Peter were great. Eric has become even more evil. He has this almost primal way that he takes on when he is hunting down Divergents.
Then there is Peter. In Divergent he just made his snide comments that made it easy to hate him, but in this film he is something more. Even though he is mostly thinking about himself, choosing whichever side guarantees him safety, he makes witty comments that makes him the comic relief character. He also a sense of moral compass when he saves Tris and inadvertently joins their side once again. I have always had a soft spot for Peter. While reading the book I always believed there had to be something good in him and I was so happy when he saved Tris. Miles Teller as Peter just reinforced my love for the character.
In any movie I watch I can almost always choose a character that I don’t like, but it’s difficult for me to find one in this movie.
The effects in the movie are beautiful, especially while Tris is going through her simulations. But there is quite a bit of imagery that is carried over from the first movie into the second one, in addition to the breaking glass I talked about earlier. Another one of my favorites is the birds flying away as Tris cuts her hair. Since the birds were such a big thing in the first film, with her tattoo and fear landscape, it is nice to see them carried into this film as well. Even though the two films have different directors, I feel like these things help make them cohesive.
The one thing I think that was a bit disappointing was how fast the movie moved. I could have easily watched another hour of the movie, but I can understand why that didn’t happen. Adding time at each of the factions would have slowed the film down.
This is one of those movies I will definitely watch over and over again. I recommend that if you have read the book and are unsure of the movie to go in with an open mind and don’t think too much of the changes, just go and enjoy seeing the world on the screen.
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