Despite a welcome enhancement of the futuristic aesthetics on display and an increased emphasis on faintly gritty action scenes, this third entry in the Divergent series suffers greatly for the over-familiarity of its generic YA dystopian aspirations.
Possessing neither the mildly mythic heft of The Hunger Games franchise nor the nimble genre efficiency of the Maze Runner films, the Divergent movies speak only to their established audience, to the detriment of tension and stakes.
Investment in the conflicts explored here absolutely requires goodwill that the film presumes we carry from previous entries in the story. Shailene Woodley’s performance as ass-kicking polymath Triss has inspired devotion in many, but a casual watcher of this film will probably struggle to understand why anything is happening.
There is some pretty cool futuristic tech on display, however. The scaling of a giant wall by Allegiant’s heroes is positioned as the centerpiece of the film, and as a set-piece it works. Plus we do finally get a few answers about the particularly convoluted set-up of the world these characters have now inhabited for three movies.
You couldn’t accuse any members of the cast of not taking their job seriously, and once again, only Miles Teller provides any relief from the intensity as the wry Peter. That said, the plot’s ridiculous reliance on Peter’s tendency to flip sides is beyond a joke now.
Grown-ups Jeff Daniels, Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts come across like teachers chaperoning a high school field trip to the apocalypse.
Although my attention was maintained through this film, I just couldn’t shake the thought that I was watching slightly bigger budget version of fondly-remembered, trend-setting Kiwi drama The Tribe.
‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ Movie Times
Catch the Previous Two Films: Divergent, Insurgent