Allegiant (The Divergent Series) Review
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Now that we’ve seen the last of The Hunger Games, it’s time to look elsewhere for dystopian action and adventure. But the third installment in the Divergent series, Allegiant, isn’t likely to win over a whole lot of die hard Hunger Games fans.

Allegiant finds the residents of the post-apocalyptic city of Chicago struggling to adjust to their new factionless society. Realizing that the new leadership is no better than the old leadership, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), and a few others escape the city and venture out into the burned-out wasteland of the fringe, where they’re rescued and taken to O’Hare Airport, the headquarters of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. The director, David (Jeff Daniels), takes a special interest in Tris—and he even believes that she’s proof that there’s hope for humanity after all. But Four fears that David is hiding something.

  
 
The third Divergent film takes the franchise in a strange new direction, shifting gears from dystopian drama to a kind of post-apocalyptic science-fiction, complete with spaceships, futuristic furnishings, and strange (and cheaply-made) otherworldly landscapes. It often feels like a completely different franchise—and that can be more than a little confounding.

At the same time, though, the more things change for the Divergent series, the more they seem to stay the same. No matter how many times the control of the city shifts from one leader to another, the overall effect seems to be the same. It tends to go from one heartless, power-hungry leader to the next, never really moving beyond the same power struggle storyline.

Meanwhile, Woodley continues to struggle with her action-hero persona. Though the film’s stylists seem intent on making her look more and more like Jennifer Lawrence, she simply doesn’t have the same charisma—nor does her character. Tris may be able to scale buildings and steal spaceships, but she’s too low-key to be a strong, dynamic heroine. In fact, the film’s heroic characters are generally so bland that Miles Teller’s troublemaker Peter is much more fun to watch. He’s sarcastic and opportunistic and unpredictable—and his complexities make him one of the more interesting characters in the series, while the others seem content to fade into the background.

In the end, it seems that much of the Divergent franchise—the cast, the characters, and the story—suffers from the same problem. Nothing here is especially terrible, but it isn’t especially memorable, either. The cast is attractive but bland, the characters are honorable but unremarkable, and the story is interesting but not exactly compelling. And the result is a generally mediocre series of young adult adventures.


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