Allegiant: Will Somebody Pull the Plug on This Franchise?

The Divergent Series feels like the never-ending story. Not only are three books being stretched into four movies, but the movies have gotten progressively worse each time, which makes the slow jog to the finish line that much more unbearable (Did no one learn their lesson after The Hobbit?). Do we blame it on bad filmmaking, author Veronica Roth’s mediocre young adult novels, the bland actors who play one-dimensional characters, or the onslaught of too-similar special snowflake saves dystopian society stories? I say all of the above.

So we had Divergent, Insurgent, and now Allegiant, which is named after the third and final book, even though it only covers the first half of that book. The rest of the book will be covered in a fourth film called Ascendant. And if that isn’t the most spoilery title for a finale, I don’t know what is. Seriously, just call it Tris Is Jesus.

Allegiant picks up immediately after Insurgent. The factionless have overthrown Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) and replaced her with Evelyn (Naomi Watts), who’s inciting mass violence in her Erudite-loyal witch hunt. Meanwhile, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Christina (Zoe Kravitz), and Peter (Miles Teller) leave the city against orders to find the people who created Chicago’s faction society as a social experiment.

Shailene Woodley in Allegiant

The group walks through a nuclear wasteland (rather coincidental since that’s what this movie feels like) and are eventually found by soldiers of “The Bureau” (It’s like they purposely name things to give away plot points, I swear), who take them back to the former O’Hare Airport where a futuristic, overly-CGIed city run by a very bored Jeff Daniels exists. There, Tris learns that The Bureau has been Truman Show-ing everyone in Chicago.

And oh yeah! Tris isn’t actually Divergent. She’s the pure result of genetic engineering, which you could probably guess from the fact that she wears white dresses and jumpsuits through most of the movie while everyone else wears black, red, gray, etc. It’s supposed to be this big moment where The Divergent Series moves away from being a dystopian “fight the government” tale into sci-fi territory, but in truth, all this reveal does is unravel the story about Divergents appearing as a result of the social and behavioral restrictions in a faction-based society.

I just can’t with this series anymore, guys. It wasn’t great to begin with, and it’s gotten progressively dumber and lazier each time. Even the actors don’t seem interested in it anymore (if they ever were). And like I said in my review of Insurgent…when Miles Teller’s Peter, the frenemy who constantly screws over Tris, is the most engaging character onscreen, there’s a problem.

*sigh* Can Ascendant get here so we can be done with this half-assed franchise?

Allegiant: C-

You can listen to my review of Allegiant on “Pat & JT in the Morning” here (at 32:22).

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