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REVIEW: The Divergent Series: Allegiant

Written by Lisa Montgomery

So, the third and penultimate instalment of the Divergent series is finally (?) here. I don’t know about you, but after the drawn-out and tiring sequel that was Insurgent, my expectations here were not that high. That said, I have to admit there was some part of me that needed to see this series through to the end. And that was for one reason only: I had to know what was outside that bloody wall – and Allegiant would provide the answer. Or so I thought.

Almost immediately, viewers are thrown into the messy aftermath of the erudite exposure of the last film (the really smart people who wanted to rule the world, remember?), which ended with their leader, Jeanine (Kate Winslet), being shot in the head by factionless leader, Evelyn (Naomi Watts). Basically this meant one power hungry lady being switched for another. But we knew that already. Starting out with a focus on this new “regime”, Allegiant is off to a pretty poor start. With scenes of shouting angry masses (it’s more of a large group of people) and spontaneous assassinations, it feels a bit sloppy and contrived. I wonder what director Robert Schwentke and his team thought here? Maybe they were just starting to give up like the rest of us. The purpose of these non-captivating fifteen minutes was most likely to show us that their walled up version of Chicago was threatened once again, and needed Tris (Shailene Woodley) to come to the rescue.

Armed with a new haircut, Tris sets out with her beau Four (Theo James) and a handful of “friends” to escape the city and head out into the Promised Land. And I mean that literally, because didn’t it sound like a promise of a new life from the hologram lady from beyond the wall (in Insurgent)? Her revealing message to the city’s residents was undoubtedly the most, and perhaps only, exciting part of that movie.

After a pretty cool, wall-jumping scene it seemed like the movie was taking off – but oh, how wrong I was. Maybe I have myself to blame for false hope, since I gave up on the book on page 72… Yes, there is plenty of action and yes, there is plot. But that’s the problem. There is just too much going on. Once outside the wall, we see the same events happening all over again. Rather than hinting of things coming to a close, we encounter another manipulative leader, another betrayal, another dangerous substance… The list goes on. Author Veronica Roth‘s aim to write in metaphor about wordly present day concerns is impossible to miss, and I give her points for creativity. Divergent was a good book, and I must admit I quite liked the film. But having successfully created her dystopian world, Roth would have been better off sticking to one major storyline. Because right now I’m having difficulties recollecting what it was all about. What was the big deal about being Divergent? Why weren’t people more outraged over finding out their entire existence had been an experiment? How could people go from faction life to non-faction life so swiftly? And as for the mysterious people outside the wall – not so mysterious after all.

I think it’s fair to say that I am confused. As the first part of the movie adaptation of Roth’s final book, you would expect that feeling of anticipation that is supposed to come with it, but unfortunately Allegiant is just plain messy. Hopefully you have noticed the lack of Hunger Games comparisons here, which has been done so many times before. And while I personally believe it’s unfair to compare the two, there is one point I need to make which is relevant to this film. Throughout The Hunger Games we form opinions of the characters – who we love, who we hate, who has the best outfits, who should die next. But in the Divergent series, and the films foremost, we don’t really care about anyone. Which leads me to the conclusion that more time should have been spent on character development, rather than complicating a story which probably doesn’t have to be so complicated. It’s possible that this series could have been more successful as just two books/films. Perhaps if they hadn’t dragged out the events in Insurgent to that extent, and just had Tris and her pals cross the wall in the end – ta-dah! A satisfactory ending. Beacuse whether you are a true fan or not, there’s nothing satisfying about Allegiant.

How do you feel the series has progressed? Would you have been satisfied with only one or two books? Do you think we will see more books (and eventually movies) along the lines of Divergent and Hunger Games? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Lisa Montgomery