**The following review will be riddled with spoilers from the book and movie. I will try my hardest to portray a fair review, despite having serious issues with the plot.
Insurgent begins promising, though a little rushed. The book has a lot of action occurring so it’s understandable that scenes need to be condensed in order to fit the whole story in, however, it’s in these moments that the plot is developed. We find Tris (Woodley) and Tobias (James) in the Amity faction. We don’t know how long they’ve been there but already they are trying to leave. They get chased out by Dauntless traitors who are working with Erudite (who in the first movie had attacked Abnegation by controlling Dauntless members). Tris, Tobias, and Caleb run away and find themselves taken to the factionless land where it is revealed that Tobias’ mother has been hiding when she is supposed to be dead.
It’s in these factionless scenes that we’re supposed to see the relationship struggle between Tris and Tobias. In the book now that he is reunited with his mother, Tobias sides with her hatred against his abusive father, and Tris can’t believe he would agree to join Dauntless forces with the factionless. The idea of an alliance between these two is the root of what is to come in the story. In the movie, Tobias is aggressive towards his mother and barely communicates with her. In the book, he is her right-hand man working on a plan of attack against Erudite.
Then Tris and Tobias move on to Candor. Here Tris faces a heavily emotional moment when she reveals her guilt of killing a friend in fighting the simulation-induced Dauntless during Divergent. This moment was a touching scene in the movie as Shailene Woodley displays Tris’ pain. It’s almost hard to watch because it feels like an intrusion upon her confession. The movie pushed her confession a little far, however, when Candor’s leader makes Tris reveal the name of who she killed. It doesn’t feel like an important fact when her admittance was painful enough.
There is also the little detail that the truth serum doesn’t work 100% on Tris. She is aware while under the serum and while it does force her to tell the truth, she can pick which truths to tell. I think this would have been important to portray because it would show just how powerful Tris’ divergence really is.
Moving on to the important plot of the movie is this: I wish I had been warned before going to see Insurgent that the main plot was changed. What really irks me is the fact that Jeanine, Erudite’s leader, was clueless the whole movie of what message the box contained. The box had been hidden in Tris’ family home in Abnegation, where her mother kept guard of it. After the attack on the Abnegation sector, Dauntless traitors retrieved the box for Jeanine. The only problem is that she can’t open it. She needs a Divergent to pass five simulations, one from each faction, to get to the message. So she spends her time collecting Divergents to open the box, which they fail at.
While in the book Jeanine acquires the information Abnegation withheld from all the factions, a message from their founders, she does her best to make sure no one else will see that message. She uses Tris’ hero-complex to lure her into Erudite headquarters by turning on a simulation that makes three random Divergents jump to their death. It works and Tris gives herself up to make the suicides stop. In the book, Tris undergoes tests to see what makes her Divergence different from the others. The last half Insurgent is spent on Tris planning to get that message out. She even teams up with Tobias’ father because she believes he is fighting for the right cause. Meanwhile Tobias is working with his mother trying to fight the Erudite which wouldn’t solve any problems.
Last but not least to my long list of annoyances is the message everyone did see. It was not Edith Prior like in the book, but a random woman, who explains that the factions were just an experiment! What was up with that? The ending of the book left me excited and curious as to how this woman was related to Tris. The movie takes that away because now everyone is excited to know they aren’t alone outside of the fence. Where are there reactions to finding out they are an experiment?
There are some saving graces to the movie. Although some plots have been changed, little details are still included to try and keep it faithful to the book. For example, Peter still saves Tris from dying in Erudite headquarters. Many scenes are rushed but included like when the Dauntless traitors attack Candor, and Tobias leaving the factionless to try saving Tris from Jeanine.
Obviously the book has been fresh in my mind, so it was disappointing to find myself not able to enjoy the movie. Call me nit-picky but the book had done a good job with all the action and plot so to me it didn’t need to be changed. Maybe one day I’ll re-watch the movie and have to delete the review to write a fairer one. I’m curious to know if I’m not alone in this thought process. What was frustrating for me was while watching the movie I thought it actually was good and I’m sure lots of people enjoyed it. I just wasn’t one of those people having fun with it.