Following the current trend among young adult adaptations, the third installment of the “Divergent” series is also divided into two separate, feature length films. Although this time, they have been very sneaky with promoting the films. Instead of naming the films “Allegiant: Part 1” and “Allegiant: Part 2”, the third installment is now called just “Allegiant” and the fourth film, which will be released in Spring 2017, will be called “Ascendant”.
When I entered the cinema last Sunday, I was under the impression that “Allegiant” would be the last “Divergent” film I would ever see – the finale to the series, which according to the novel by Veronica Roth, would be controversial. I thought it was weird the film was called just “Allegiant”, without the “Part 1” tied to it, and I assumed the production company just fused the two installments together again. Budget issues, I thought.
But the more I saw of “Allegiant”, the more confused I got.
This latest installment continues right where the second film, “Insurgent” (2015), left off. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) and Tobias Eaton (Theo James) have revealed the truth behind the dystopian faction system they grew up in, and now they are set on seeking out those who are responsible, lurking behind the walls enclosing Chicago. Against Evelyn (Naomi Watts)’s orders, Tris and Tobias cook up a plan to escape a city, a plan which is not without sacrifices. They have climbed out of their stone prison, but what they find beyond the wall, might just be an entirely different kind of prison.
The series’ strongest asset is still actress Shailene Woodley, who brings both sincerity and depth to her character, Tris. Where the script failed to prevent clarity, Woodley brought it to the audience by her body language and her facial expressions. Subtle as her performance might be, it is a good one. Miles Teller, who returns as the deliciously sarcastic Peter, is “Allegiant”‘s second point of strength. Designed to serve as comic relief, Teller delivers. Overall, the film takes itself too seriously, and Teller takes the edge off just enough for it to become entertaining.
Because do not get me wrong, “Allegiant” is still an entertaining watch. With its sci-fi fighting scenes, chasing sequences and delightfully evil characters, like Teller’s Peter, “Allegiant” offer just enough to keep its audience interested. But, it is cutting it close, as the film also features an abundance of completely redundant scenes. A full 15 minutes of explanation on these little combat drones? Not necessary. A 10 second shot of our five heroes looking out over a pinkish desert area? Doesn’t really add anything to the story. And a five minute sequence of the main characters flying to the freakishly stylish sci-fi head quarters? We could have skipped that.
“Allegiant” is, although it features pretty visuals and good performances by both Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, just a space-filler. Full of redundant scenes, the film functions a waiting-room for the final, epic conclusion to the series: “Ascendant”.