Ok so first off....I have not read the source material. I came into this cold, and it DEFINITELY makes a difference. This movie....like so many others....had great potential. It creates a world with great ideas rivaling that of The Hunger Games. Seriously. It's that good. And there were times in the first and second act where the world is sort of investigated and some points are addressed about the factions and being an outsider with no home. However, the movie is also just too big for its own good. Way too big. There are way too many characters thrown in here that you are expected to care about, and as a result....I didn't care about any of them. Even the lead. And the love story? Hilariously bad. While Shallene Woodley was excellent as the lead, Theo James was TERRIBLE as the male counterpart. Just awful. There's no chemistry between them, and suddenly Shallene Woodley says I love you and I was like....wait what? Since when is that a thing? It's not fleshed out at all here.
Ok so bad love story. Check. Theo James is terrible. Check. You know who else is in this movie? Miles Teller. Teller was the lead opposite Shallene Woodley in one of 2013's most underrated movies, The Spectacular Now. And, rather than putting him opposite her again, which they should've done if you ask me, they put him as Peter. Who is just a complete d*ck for no reason whatsoever. That's another thing. Character motivations are hard to understand, if they're there at all. Most of the characters are who they are just because. The only one who really gets fleshed out is Woodley. Who is excellent. I will say Divergent has a more identifiable female lead than Katniss from The Hunger Games for younger women, because Tris is struggling to find her identity as a woman as many do in their teenage years. This really is Woodley's movie, and she sure did everything she could to make it better. I look forward to her future endeavors. Oh ya also shoutout to Kate Winslet's screen-chewing. She doesn't get a lot of screen time, but when she does, she does everything she can. To have. All. Of the screen. Maggie Q and Mekhi Phifer are both relegated to meaningless roles as well, which is unfortunate because they are good actors.
Really there aren't a whole lot of pluses here. The world was entertaining enough that I was not bored all that often, and the cinematography and soundtrack were both excellent (the scene where M83's song was used as Tris zip lines over Chicago just might have been the best scene of the movie) but they weren't enough to make this a good movie. It was DEFINITELY overlong, and the third act definitely turned into the DEFINITION of clique. Like....it made Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit's third act look unpredictable. No lie. Really this whole movie was predictable, and it's because I've seen this story entirely too often. It doesn't dare to be different at all, and it really is just....not all that fun. The emotional points were not emotional, and the climax was laughably anti-climatic. Now if you like the source material, you will probably enjoy this, but if you're like me and coming in cold, you will be mostly bored. In the end, it is an average movie, and definitely not going to knock The Hunger Games off its podium as the current movie-series-based-on-a-book series of our culture. Gotta figure out a better name for that.....oh ya and this is a trilogy. My room was full so we'll likely see the sequel, but I can't even begin to imagine what it's going to be about. We'll see.....
The Critique: A very, very average movie that creates an interesting premise and then turns into a standard and unnecessary love story. Shallene Woodley is excellent though.
The Recommendation: For fans of the source material only. There's nothing here for anyone else.
Rewatchability: Moderately Low
The Verdict: 5/10 Average