Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Divergent

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 41% (Critics) / 80% (Audience)
Directed By: Neil Burger
Written By: Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Jai Courtney, Ashley Judd and Kate Winslet
Studio: Lionsgate Films/Summit Entertainment
Synopsis: In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late. – (Source)


The Good:
The setting of a post-who knows what Chicago as the only remaining city left was pretty cool and the potential of there being “really bad things” outside the protective fences is intriguing.
The training sequences were nice too…I am always a sucker for training scenes in movies. Would have been perfect if they had added Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best Around” to those montages.
I also enjoyed the performances by Theo James, Jai Courtney and Kate Winslet. James has a very magnetic presence as well as looking like a young Marlon Brando circa THE WILD ONE. I foresee a very successful career for this guy. Courtney has been a favorite of mine since I first saw him on the Starz series SPARTACUS. He seems to be getting pigeonholed as the douchebag heavy in movies as of late but he does it so well that I can almost understand why. And Kate Winslet put her penchant for playing distant, icily detached characters to good use as the Erudite leader Jeanine.

The Bad:
I don’t get Shailene Woodley at all. I don’t find her to be an engaging presence at all and while I don’t think she is a bad actress I also don’t think she does anything particularly interesting or noteworthy with her acting either. To me she is just incredibly bland and forgettable. She is the lead in this film and yet she was hardly ever capable of holding my interest. It was like watching a movie starring a walking, talking bowl of plain yogurt.
And this blandness carried over to the romance between her character, Triss and Theo James’ Four. There was nothing even remotely romantic about the two of them and since a good chunk of the movie is based on their falling for one another that was a very bad thing.
There was also an appalling lack of Maggie Q in this movie.

The Ugly:
So basically being Divergent is like being an undecided college student? Because aside from not being able to make up one’s mind about what you want to do with your life I really don’t see what was so scary about a Divergent person. it’s not like there was a Divergent movement trying to tear down the Faction societal model or a charismatic Divergent leader trying to sway impressionable young minds from choosing a Faction. So what exactly warrants killing Divergents on site? Maybe it is explained in the book but the movie does a truly terrible job at making Divergency mean something.

Final Verdict: A uninspiring lead actress and a basic premise that never actually amounted to anything of note really hurts this film. While there were several performances I liked and some good portions of the movie that have potential to blossom into something more as the series goes along, I don’t think those few positives do as much as they would need to do to make DIVERGENT an enjoyable movie experience.

Grade: D+

8 thoughts on “Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Divergent

  1. I’ve just read the first novel and I quite enjoyed it. Sad to hear the film doesn’t match up although I’m not terribly surprised. I’m a big YA fan and apart from Hunger Games every recent adaptation had been dire.


  2. It is really surprising how few of these YA properties end up being truly successful. I am still shocked that the Mortal Instruments movie flopped so hard. It wasn’t very good but I figured it had all the ingredients that made the Twilight movies hits despite those not being all that great either.


  3. Its interesting that you say that. Although I quite agree on the issue with the actress who played Tris. I believe I put something along those lines in my review. I didn’t feel as much of a connection as the book included


    1. I have yet to be impressed by her going all the way back to her much lauded turn in The Descendants.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting btw. I visited your blog and really like it so you have one more follower!


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