This is the sequel to Divergent. At the end of which, we see the camera swoop up and reveal a huge wall that surrounded the city of Chicago. The implication was that the main characters were headed to that wall on a train so that they could figure a way to get past the wall and see what was outside of the city. This movie ends with yet another camera swoop up revealing that same huge wall and implying the same exact thing. The implication again is that the main characters need to figure a way to get past the wall and see what is on the other side. Yes, this film ends the exact same way as the first. There is no progression from the last movie to now. There is no advancing of the story. Everything in it is just a rehashing of everything in the first, except this time the female protagonist has shorter hair.
Shailene Woodley stars as Tris Prier, a young girl living in a futuristic Chicago that has been decimated by war but everyone living in it now have been divided into five factions. Each faction contains groups of people who share a common personality trait. As we learned in the previous film, teenagers are tested to see which faction that will belong. There are two types of outcasts within this system. The first type are those who don't test into a faction. They're known as Factionless. The other type are those who test into all the factions. Those latter types are called Divergents. Tris is a divergent.
Kate Winslet co-stars as Jeanine. She's the leader of the faction known as Erudite. In the previous film, she tried to take control of the city, which she did, but her mind-control efforts didn't work on divergents so Jeanine tried to kill all the divergents. Tris who went to live with the faction known as Dauntless banded together with fellow divergent, Four, played by Theo James, and other Dauntless members to rebel and fight back against Jeanine's evil plan.
Maybe I'm forgetting the specifics of the ending, but I thought Jeanine was defeated and Tris and company got away and were okay. Yet, the opening of this film, which supposedly takes place only five days after the ending of the first, resets things, so everything done in the first film basically has to be done all over again, only delaying what we thought we'd get this time around, pushing it to the third movie, wasting all our time here.
I feel like all the actors and characters are wasted. Octavia Spencer who plays Johanna, the head of the faction known as Amity didn't add much. I did refer to the area in which she lives as Amity-ville. Miles Teller who plays Peter, one of the Dauntless members, seems like he's the only one having any kind of fun. He's the comic relief though. Everyone else, I suppose, has to be very serious. Unfortunately, it also comes across as lifeless.
Of all the characters, I didn't understand Caleb, played by Ansel Elgort. Caleb is a member of the faction Erudite, but given everything that happened in the previous film, his actions here don't make sense or at least the screenwriters don't allow us into his head to get us to comprehend the leap he makes.
Again, just like in the previous film, a chunk of the movie deals with Tris having to experience these virtual reality tests. These tests like last time play off some psychological fear inherent within her. Yet, these tests of which there are five don't seem that difficult, even though Jeanine touts them as the most difficult thing ever. There is one crazy, CGI-heavy test that Tris faces, but the CGI is so over-the-top that it's never believable or feel as if Tris is ever in any real danger. It was better in The Lawnmower Man or The Matrix. Supposedly, it's more of an emotional struggle, but even that's not ultimately true.
Instead of the repeated ending as the first movie, there's also the silly ending just prior that's akin to the recent The Maze Runner. It's indicative of perhaps how these YA novels, of which this movie is based, are too much alike and are starting to bleed together.
One Star out of Five. Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality and brief language. Running Time: 1 hr. and 59 mins.