The first two installments in this series were if nothing else enjoyable. The first one, in fact, was well acted and directed, with a satisfying plot and held its own. The second which did have a wayward plot and a messy script was still salvaged by the acting and the cgi-fuelled set pieces which were cool to look at. But this movie fails in every possible aspect. Firstly, let's consider the acting, Shailene Woodley who was the most stellar aspect of the previous movies, is extremely dull and lacklustre. She seemed completely disinterested throughout the movie. The script didn't require her to do anything more than recite a handful of lines but she did engage the screen only periodically. Her character who is shown to be strong and defiant previously, turns into this mute easily-manipulated by stander who does very little in this installment. Theo James as Four, however, I felt performed decently well with what he was given, even if he still grumbles most of his lines. Jeff Daniels and Naomi Watts arguably manage to fit the bill of their generic and plain characters. The CGI, which has been a plus point of this series so far, is squandered in this one, with the surrounding green scene being glaringly visible in several scenes. From a visual concept and set piece point of view, something that Insurgent did manage to execute well, this one once again falls short. With the acting already poor, we do not even have some eye candy visuals to enjoy. Now, the plot. Convoluted and poorly unraveled. Nothing seems to make sense. Character motivations are inconsistent with previous installments and seem to change with the requirement of the script. Whatever exposition is provided is achingly plain and vague spurring endless questions about a variety of plot points, so much so that they threaten to put whatever sense the preceding movies made in much jeopardy. SPOILERS AHEAD- Here are some questions and oddities with the regard to both certain nagging minutia and also larger plot points which completely spoil the overall experience of the movie. The wall climbing scene early on in the movie, which while having been the best actions sequence, was still annoying. Tris is running from the wall to the generator which is powering the fence/wall, three vehicles full of men are shooting at her but their aim as required, is pathetic. Four, who unlike Tris, isn't even running, is also untouched. Soon after, atop the wall, the group decides to begin celebrating their victory prematurely with only Tori returning fire and staying rooted in the gravity of the moment, and as inevitable she gets shot and dies. Why? Why would these characters behave SO very oblivious to the danger at hand. Having been 'rescued' by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, they're shown the poorly rendered video clip explaining 200 hundred years worth of history. So, genetic mutation in humans was introduced and people were divided on this and then they fought and destroyed most of the world? Some select pure individuals formed the Bureau and the rest died/or were placed in the Chicago experiment to gauge if they were 'curable'? For 200 years? They ran a massive experiment to find if a pure human was possible from among the 'damaged' individuals? From what I see, the life that the damaged lived inside the wall was a much more civilized and peaceful society until Tris wreaked havoc in the first movie, while outside the wall, people seem to be living in a wasteland. So I'm supposed to understand that the 'pure' people set up a massive civilized city for the 'damaged' while themselves living in a barren landscape fighting people at the fringe??? Even the Providence was a tiny area of fairly futuristic looking infrastructure. It is later revealed that David wants funding for his project. Funding? Funding for? For reinstating the factions by wiping the minds of the people of the city? But he did just that without having received funding from the providence, didn't he?? So was it funding for renovation of his own floating castle home at the Bureau? And back in Chicago, Joana sees that Evelyn is killing people that worked for Jeanine, so she, the Wise one, decides it is time to divide whatever people are left, in half and have them fight each other to the death?? And then that gas. That gas which is supposed to be inhaled but is so heavy that it harmlessly settles down at feet level, giving ample time for the warring people to run up a flight of stairs. Evelyn gets shot by Peter in the back/leg, but clearly doesn't seem to have any injury when shown from the back. Tris shooting the ventilation system through the wall absolutely the weakest resolution to the conflict. And magically, the gas recedes quickly and all those people who had previously been fighting each other to the death, come out of the buildings all smiles and happy, some even smiling and pointing at God knows what. So absurd. Overall a very disappointing and frustrating mess that reeks of ignorance on the part of the filmmakers who seem to have concluded that they can string up any random events in a dystopian setting amidst a bunch of teenagers aided by mediocre visual effects and some set pieces. Hopefully, with the change of director, the final movie will be better.
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 the world around them.
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May 29, 2019