I’m about 8 years late but I finally watched the Divergent series. It’s a decent series but it kind of rips off Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Its very similar to other YA books/movies of its time and is not very original. However, I did really like the series, especially the first film. The second film was decent, but the third film seems very rushed, they did not develop a strong storyline and the effects are terrible. While watching the third film I noticed it is labelled as part 1… and to my surprise, part 2 does not exist. Knowing it’s unfinished and will never be completed would usually make it hard to get me to watch it al the way through, but after the first film I felt like I just had to keep watching. I wish they had a part 2 but at the same time, the story seems very finished. I have not read the books, so maybe the series is missing a proper finale. As someone who just watched the movies it seems like a fine place to end it.
The concept of the film feels like a copy of Hunger Games but with Harry Potter-style houses instead of districts. It’s one of those the world is ending and the teenagers are the cure type of films. So basically anything released in 2014, like Maze Runner, Hunger Games, and The 100. The idea of there being so few people who are “divergent”, who fit too many boxes is kind of absurd. I feel like the majority of people would fit in more than one box seeing as they are all human and humans are not typically only one thing. The movie makes many connections to society and perfection, a sense of belonging, and labels. What I really liked about this movie is that it makes you think about society in a different way. It left me thinking about the world differently and I think that's what any good film should do. Even though the movie has a lot of similar themes to other films of its time, I think this familiarity is what made it such a success at the time.
I understand why now that I have seen all three films, but I didn’t like how they didn't explain the faction system in the first film. Stay with me here but if they are tested to find what group they supposedly fit in, why do they still have the ability to choose other factions that they supposedly do not fit into? Like they grow up in their parents faction, doesn't matter if that is where they belong or not, then they get tested, and then if they want they have the choice to pick something completely different... why the test then? I also found the Dauntless faction just weird. To be in Dauntless you really just have to run everywhere, climb buildings, and jump off trains.
What I love most about the series is the characters and the actors who play them. This is a star-studded cast which gave them a lot of talent to work with. Some characters like Christina and Caleb, played by Zoe Kravitz and Ansel Elgort, I wish had more screen time. Ansel Elgort (although now a bit controversial) and Zoe Kravitz are both fantastic actors and it would have been cool if they did more in these films and if they had more dialogue. It just feels like they had so much talent to work with and didn’t utilize it to its fullest potential. One character who I really like is Four… yes that’s his name. I think that might be the dumbest name for a character I have ever heard of in the history of literature, but I really liked his character arch.
The set design for this film is beautiful and very well done. They shot the film in Chicago and builtthese huge sets which is really cool. If this film was made today, it would mostly be CGI. Whereas this is shot on location, and it is so authentically Chicago. It is not so futuristic and dystopian that you can't recognize it. People can recognise that its Chicago and really connect with the city. From the trains to the Ferris wheel, it's al just really neat. The sets combined with special effects really bring the whole world to life and made it feel real.
Overall, I actually really liked the first film of the series. I miss this era of movies so this was fun for me to watch. However, I found the film takes a long time to get to the point. They train and train and train for about half the movie until anything really happens or anything is explained. Maybe if you read the books it makes more sense but for someone who has not, I found there was a lot that didn’t make sense in the movie. The movie is made for fans of the books and that is great but I think they could have made the movies more appealing to people who haven’t read the books. This would have helped pull people in to make them want to read the books. I think what really makes this movie is its cast of an incredible group of actors that make this worth seeing.
It’s a shame the film series ended without getting its final film. From what I have read it seems Lionsgate really dropped the ball on this one. They rushed the third film and made the actors involved fall out of love with the project. By trying to meet certain dates you compromise the quality of the film and of the story. Additionally, these films did not receive the box office success they were hoping for. With Lionsgate already having success with Hunger Games and Twilight at the time, I think they were trying too hard to recreate that same pattern with Divergent. I still think even incomplete, it's a good series and worth the watch. It doesn’t offer anything necessarily new and refreshing but it's still fun, interesting and makes you think. I enjoyed the film and found the characters and concept all very compelling.