Divergent - 7 stars out of 10
In the world of dystopian films that separate the population into different factions (or districts characterized by lifestyle and status, if you will), “Divergent” falls behind “The Hunger Games” franchise but is still a really great film. It is natural to draw comparisons between these two franchises, but I will try to focus on this film as its own entity and not blame its writers for capitalizing on the popularity of “dystopian epic” stories. “Divergent” gets an immediate bonus point for taking place in Chicago, one of my favorite cities and a place with enough landmarks this post-apocalyptic world is familiar amidst the destruction. I think that the concept of dividing the populous by their disposition is clever. The concept could have easily failed when put into practice with the characters but the detailed testing process and Dauntless training made it work really well. The Dauntless training also gave the writers an excuse to exploit the various landmarks of the city, particularly the Navy Pier and the Willis Tower. I wasn’t initially drawn to the characters but I was a Tris fan by the midway point of the film. I was completely sold once we reached the scene with her mother in the alley. I waited the entire film for Shailene Woodley to prove her acting chops and after that moment, I knew that she is talented enough to build momentum through the entire series (but still not as impressive as Jennifer Lawrence). Most of the teenage characters are interesting and relatable to us but a lot of these actors playing them were just okay. On the other hand, Kate Winslet and Ashley Judd added some depth to the acting with their vast experience in film. One thing that “Divergent” is missing is a big surprise. It has a few twists, but you can see most of them coming and the ones that surprise you don’t really rock your entire movie perspective. The action is so good that I don’t mind the predictability, but a memorable audience-shocking-moment would have given the critics more to talk about. If “Divergent” had come out three years ago, it would have truly wowed the teen science fiction community; however, when you are the follow-up to “The Hunger Games,” you are destined to live in its shadow even if you are an awesome film.