Allegiant is the penultimate film to the Divergent series and sees Tris and co in Chicago just after the successful uprising that took place in Insurgent. The dust has settled but after the new regime still insists on closing its borders to stop everyone going outside of the wall, Tris and some of the divergent’s make a break for what lays outside not knowing who or what they will find.
It is hard to tell whether Hollywood is as fed up with the teen dystopian movies as cinema-goers appear to be because this film, which in theory should be building up to a huge last instalment, is all around poorly made.
Three films in now and the characters are still lifeless cardboard cut outs of every cliche’ you can possibly imagine. In this movie it is actually hard to tell if it is the writing that is so shoddy or the acting that is just that terrible. There were two exceptions in the previous movies, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, and even they have fallen foul to being horrendously mundane. Teller’s ‘Peter’ previously had a decent bit of progression given that he is a secondary character. He plays the ‘being a dick’ role well and seemed to have character development that was pretty satisfying in Insurgent, here though he goes back to being predictable, unfunny and unconvincingly villainous with no redemptive features. Basically the role Jai Courtney had and did a better job of. Woodley it is easy to say has been the stand out actor in this series of films but for some unknown reason she has lost all the passion, drive and emotion that made her so watchable before. She plods along a very predictable character arc and is about as inspiring as a wet flannel, the one thing you can say about the Hunger Games is that Katniss at least tried to inspire the populous, here you are just left feeling no empathy to anyone.
Now, I have not read the source material but the plot for this movie was ridiculously predictable and it is hard to tell if it was constrained by the book. Every single character you think has something to hide, has something to hide. Every single situation is responded to by protagonists and antagonists alike in exactly the way you expect them to, there is nothing original or interesting in what is going on. What we have is the exact same message of ‘humanity needs to be embraced for our qualities, not segregated by fear of our differences’ that we have had for all the other films, there is literally nothing new, no tension and no surprises to be found. The name ‘Allegiant’ is meant to refer to (yet) another uprising within the society but a total of about 5 minutes is actually spent dealing with what is going on there. When your movie can’t even focus or explain what the title is meant to be about then you are going to have problems, it is shockingly unbalanced.
The pacing was also mind boggling. Considering it is a 2 hour film they jammed it full of events that resolved themselves really, really quickly, and yet the whole film feels like it is done at a canter. There is no urgency, no dramatic tension and nothing to keep you on the edge of your seat. The cast comes up against an obstacle, whether it’s getting over the wall, being chased, assimilating to new jobs or resolving conflict, it is all done with quick and efficient ease.
All is not lost though! The visuals for the outside of the wall stand out to give a different look and style about the radioactive ravaged wasteland and the future tech was well imagined too. The textures and contours of the scenery was immersive for the time the characters spent there and looked the part, the CGI in this respect was rather good. The same cannot be said for some of the use of green screen for some action early on. Said action was sparse at best and when it did arrive the set pieces were not as creative as that in the previous instalments, one of the battles later on looking more like an expensive game of Laser Quasar than anything remotely believable or entertaining.
The third instalment in the Divergent series is by far the weakest and did a crap job setting up anything to look forward to in part 2. Slick visuals can’t save uninteresting characters who hastily make their way through a poorly explained plot. The lack of imaginative set pieces, friction and tension between key characters leaves this 2 hour slog as something pretty to look at but substantively disappointing.