The Divergent Series: Allegiant, 2016.
Directed by Robert Schwentke.
Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Jeff Daniels, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz, Jonny Weston, Keiynan Lonsdale, Maggie Q, Daniel Dae Kim, Octavia Spencer, Bill Skarsgard, Nadia Hilker, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Stevenson, and Ashley Judd.
After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent, Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago to finally discover the shocking truth of what lies behind it.
Everyone’s favorite worst dressed and worst tattooed heroic system rebels are back for another entry in The Divergent Series: Allegiant, the next slice of this painfully boring YA novel adaptation that makes no sense. That statement is more-so true this time around than ever, as apparently details from the books have been changed and rewritten to alter the story so that it fits the recent Hollywood trend of splitting the final chapter of the saga up into two parts. Still, even without these poisonous new touches, it’s hard to imagine the latest installment in what is quite possibly the worst of all of these dystopian, teenager friendly franchises, playing out as anything more but a glacially paced, uninspired, hollow, snore-inducing mess of a project.
The basic, flimsy narrative that does exist seems to now be repeating itself and running in circles, replacing dead villains with new and more, clearly corrupt bigwigs in power. Even the characters acknowledge this, as Four (I still can’t believe there is a character named after a freaking number) stands up to his mother (once again portrayed by Naomi Watts), exclaiming that there was no point in usurping Jeanine (played by Kate Winslet who was shot point-blank in the back of the head at the end of The Divergent Series: Insurgent) if she was going to be replaced by a replica. The writers are actually pointing out the laziness of the novels.
If that wasn’t enough, this series also adds another villain from beyond the wall – confining society to an apocalyptic Chicago – in the form of yet another corporate type that supposedly has the best interest in mind for saving the world, played by Jeff Daniels who couldn’t look any more disinterested in the movie. He actually delivers his lines as if he is just as bored as the audience. There is a lot of slow speaking, mid-sentence pauses, and the sensation of total apathy for taking part in the series. Towards the end is a scene where he must yell out your standard cliché “No” line, which is about the closest he comes to showing some excitement and enthusiasm for the character, but even then it’s impossible to shake the feeling that he is here just do a job.
As a matter of fact, pretty much everyone still involved in the franchise seems aware that this franchise is long past failing Lionsgate as a replacement for The Hunger Games. It’s safe to assume that they are contractually obligated to finish the franchise (which unfortunately still has one more film to go), and that many of them (most notably Shailene Woodley, who has consistently put forth strong effort and given it her all in injecting some energy into the proceedings) are just hoping that there are still some decent opportunities to be had on the mainstream blockbuster market. Miles Teller should also be fine, and not just because he is a proven dramatic actor, but because he continues to be the only real entertaining aspect of the saga. His character and performance feel like they belong in a completely different franchise, as he flip-flops between good and evil the second he is promised an ascension in the status quo by anyone. His character would probably kill his grandmother for five dollars, and I love it.
One of the only real bright spots of The Divergent Series: Allegiant is that since the Dauntless crew are traveling beyond the wall for the first time, there is a new-found sense of wonder and exploration to be had within the franchise, and that’s good considering it was getting a bit tiring looking at the same old rundown and destroyed version of Chicago. The unknown area (basically the rest of the world) is reminiscent to Mars, full of craters and other geographical landscape beatings, and even somewhat rains blood occasionally. This also results in a major missed opportunity to play some Slayer (they totally could have done this if they had the time to play Ellie Goulding songs in the first two).
There is also some new technology and weaponry on display, which you would think would make some of the action sequences a bit more fresh and exciting, but it surprisingly doesn’t. The problem is that much of the gadgets on display feel bland and listed from other science fiction properties (some of the aesthetic designs of the rifles and shields actually feel ripped out of Halo). Also, none of it is staged with intensity, and really just amounts to Four kicking the crap out of people hand-to-hand. Meanwhile, the special effects, even with a bigger budget, still look incredibly fake, with a sequence featuring bubble shields meant to protect anyone inside from radioactive contamination being a standout in unintentional hilarity.
The most amazing aspect of The Divergent Series: Allegiant is that for a movie with so little action, instead choosing to spend its time on back-and-forth dialogue exchanges between characters both new and old, there isn’t much story progression, and what is there is predictable. It’s legitimately hard to invest in anything going on in this franchise, even when supporting characters are dying or key players are being threatened. The franchise already overstayed its welcome past the first movie, but now it has reached a point where characters are being swapped out and in to repeat the same damn story, but just on a slightly larger scale. Who cares?
At least this entry spared us the black hole of charisma that is Jai Courtney.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★