The Midlevel Imitator – Insurgent (2015)

Further uprising.  So after the events in the first movie, the Divergents have been targeted by the government and are on the run.  Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her small group of allies must figure out a way to thwart their oppressors.  Now I liked Divergent more than I disliked it, but let’s call a spade a spade: this series is off-brand Hunger Games.  There are so many companies out there that are trying to get that lucrative Y.A. money, so it certainly understandable why we are getting so many offshoots of this, Harry Potter and Twilight.

insurgentAnd as far as these doppelgangers go, I would rank their quality in that order as well.

This isn’t bad, but there are films that do exactly what this movie is trying to do, only much better.  Namely: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  That film is fantastic, and I would feel like I was being unfair if I held this film up to that lofty of standards.  What I actually found myself comparing this more to is another offshoot: The Maze Runner.  When comparing the two, this actually made me want to go back and rewatch that film instead.  Both are doing pretty similar things, but I remember more specific details from The Maze Runner, while here, I remember broader and mostly vague items, like society being divided up into factions, or this girl being the chosen one a la Neo.  It’s all components that bleed together, and that is largely because so many of these movies got released in such close proximity to each other.  It’s so bad that there is a major plot point of a main character dying in the first movie, and I don’t even remember who that was, because they only reference him by name.  But I’ve got to review this on its own merits, and one big bright spot for me is the addition of Daniel Dae Kim, an actor I have affection for, if only because I recently just finished Lost.

JinThe one thing about the actors from Lost when they pop up in other works is that I immediately assume that it ties back to the series in an alternate timeline… but I digress.

This is decent, but I feel like the only target audience for this are people that are already fans of the source material, and they are the only people who stood a chance of developing any sort of tangible connection with this anyway.  It’s too similar to the Hunger Games to be unique (Kate Winslet is essentially playing President Snow, Naomi Watts is President Coin), and it is not as memorable as the other competitive imitators.  And again comparing it to The Maze Runner (I can’t help it), while Insurgent boasts a more talented cast, it’s far more melodramatic when it comes to adding a love interest, which isn’t something I would say that this series actively needs.  This is watchable, and while lead actress Shailene Woodley has the chops, I’m much more interested in what she does next, as this series is kind of just there.

Insurgent (2015) ***

– Critic for Hire


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