Insurgent, the book adaptation from Veronica Roth’s dystopian series, is due out in theaters in 1 week and fans will not be dissapointed. Considering the target demographic is young adults, most of which are fans of the original book series, director Robert Schwentke takes up the helm where Neil Berger left off. Bringing with him his expertise with special effects, he successfully translates the story into an out of this world visual experience.

The film is set to be released in 2D and 3D, amplifying the action and simulation sequences and bringing out the wow factor.

Insurgent starts off where Divergent ended, with Tris, Four, Caleb and Peter escaping the Dauntless compound and seeking refuge in Amity. Being as that is the most peaceful faction, the tempo of the film starts off slow letting viewers reacquaint themselves with the characters, but it doesn’t take long for the pace to pick up.

Octavia Spencer is a wondefull addition to the cast as Amity leader Johanna Reyes, with the Oscar winning actress bringing a peaceful serenity to her faction. The otherwise vivacious and sassy actress manages to tamper her playfulness down and bring with her a quiet vulnerability and respect to the peaceful group. In contrast, Naomi Watts brings a sense of secrecy and deceit as Factionless leader (and Tobias’ presumed dead mother) Evelyn Eaton which fits perfectly with her character. Viewers don’t quite understand her intentions and yet she has one of those faces that seem harmless enough.

Shailene Woodley continues to show the depth of her acting abilities as she is able to move you with her facial expressions and body movements. One minute she has you rooting for her as she fearlessly takes on Miles Teller (Peter) and the next she’s moving you to tears as she is placed under Candor sedative to tell her truth unfiltered. Shailene adds a complexity and depth to Tris as a young heroine who is just stepping into her role as she struggles between her sense of right and vengeance. Her guilt at having killed one of her friends has her struggling and making her withdraw from those closest to her while her anger at the death of her parents brings out a range and strength we had not seen in her before. Woodley manages to balance both effortlessly.

Theo James adds on to Tobias Eaton’s humanity as we see a change within him. Where before he was fearless with nothing to lose and no one to think of but himself now he sees things in a new light and the fear of losing the one he loves makes him rethink things before acting on instinct. James manages to walk the line between brooding tough guy and the devoted boyfriend of teenage girls’ dreams.

Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller are a perfect ying to the other’s yang as Caleb Prior and Peter respectively. Elgort has a subtle way of making you doubt and instantly dislike Caleb as the mechanics of his mind become clearer throughout the film. He is one character that changes from being a devoted family member to choosing to sacrifice his only family in favor of “saving what little civilization” is left. He considers it an act of selflessness while others may see it as cowardly selfishness. On the other hand, Teller starts off making you hate Peter as he is seen as somewhat of an opportunist going with whatever side has the power, but as events unfold you see his mind trying to figure Tris out and he ends up redeeming himself in the end. He also happens to have the few needed moments of comedic relief and does so with his ever present charm.

Then there is powerhouse Kate Winslet who manages to bring Jeanine Matthews to the point of evil genius villaness who at some points is so focused on her objective that she loses sight of her humanity. Winslet plays Jeanine as a woman, not obsessed with power, but as someone who has convinced herself that her way is the only way for humanity to survive. She will stop at nothing to make sure it happens. Her almost morbid fascination with Divergence and Tris herself are the only hints at human characteristics such as curiosity and hope. These are of course overshadowed by her dogged attempts at opening the mysterious box that holds the key to the end of the Divergent problem as she sees it.

Fans of the book series may be surprised at the not so subtle changes in the flow of the story, some plot points and the addition of the box and the simulations that come with it, but overall they play in the films favor. The simulation sequences add to the action factor that has been touted through the promotional clips. Adding the Divergent box is a twist from the book in which the secret message regarding Divergence is revealed and helped change the pace of the story. Had it not been added, the film would be a redundant repetition of attacks into factions starting with Amity to Candor and finally Erudite. The box and simulations helped break up those aspects from the book not to mention add to the visual experience.

Overall, Insurgent does the job in continuing the story and adding on to the many layers that create Tris and her fellow initiates while telling the story of how far civilization can spiral if we were to be split into factions. What would we do if we were pigeonholed to fit in into one type of characteristic? If we were forced to conform and hide who we are? How far would we go to free ourselves and those we love? It also gives young women the empowering message that you can be strong, you can have opinions, you don’t have to be who others tell you to be. Be true to yourself and most of all “be brave.”

Insurgent opens in theaters March 20.

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