‘Divergent’ hardly diverges at all


Divergent (2014)

Directed by Neil Burger

5.5/10  PG-13

I waited until just before its sequel to watch the YA sensation “Divergent.” Now that I’ve seen it, I don’t regret waiting. But in the spirit of divergence, I’ll be writing this review in the form of a list. Here are the top five reasons “Divergent” failed to make a good impression:

1. Disappointing performances – High expectations usually follow the stars of Oscar darlings like “Titanic,” “The Descendants,” and “Whiplash,” so when Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley, and Miles Teller all give laughable performances, you’re disappointed. You expected better. Teller is foolish as an unapologetic asshole. Woodley shows a few fits of convincing emotion, but the whole cast seems like they’re faking it.


2. Horrific script – “Divergent” has one of the worst screenplays, dialogue-wise, that I’ve ever heard. And I’m already tired of dystopian future YA plots. Boring!

3. Confusion – Not to mention, I’m still not entirely sure what “Divergent” is about. Or why it’s worth competing with “The Hunger Games” or “The Maze Runner,” which are both more entertaining than this franchise (at least on the screen…I’ve never read the books).


4. Fight, fight, fight! – “Divergent” also has tacky and unrealistic fight choreography, making even its few exciting fight scenes come off as phony. And when they shoot, it’s not to kill. It’s only to stun. That’s the problem with “adventure” movies that are rated PG-13.


“Divergent” is just another dystopian YA story about sticking it to the man. But it doesn’t do enough to set itself apart from the others.


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