‘Insurgent’ packs plenty of plot twists and a great cast

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If we were living in the year 1975, the anticipated film of the month would center on a really overambitious shark approaching the shore to look for people to eat whole (uplifting stuff, I know).

If you have been living under a rock or just generally don’t enjoy watching a film about a snarky shark, I am referring to the acclaimed hit “Jaws,” which took the film industry by storm in the 70s. However, today our choice of blockbuster content has nothing to do with a sea creature but everything to do with the teenage realm of dystopia.

The last few years have produced one dystopian blockbuster after another. And today another one hits theaters: the “Divergent” sequel “Insurgent.”

To be honest, I wasn’t particularly jumping up and down to see “Insurgent” this past Monday. I went into the theater thinking I was in for a two-hour repeat of another dystopian film in popular culture. Turns out, I wasn’t right. But I wasn’t wrong either.

“Insurgent,” the second installment in the “Divergent” trilogy, picks up where the last film left off, on Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) trying to hide from the evil dictator Jeanine (Kate Winslet) after their tumultuous encounter with her in the previous film.

The film then follows Four and Tris on their journey to defeat Jeanine and their interactions with friendly enemies and foes turned friends. Ultimately, Tris and Four have two missions: to recapture Tris’ mother’s mysterious possession, and to protect each other (because they are in love. Of course).

There’s some good ol’ cinematic betrayal, grandiose fight scenes, young (and censored) love, and just a lot of “the world is in danger” chaotic content. So yes, this movie has many similarities to movies like “The Maze Runner” and the “Hunger Games” films. And yes, I was bored for parts. But there were some good performances, plot twists and technical elements, which partially redeemed “Insurgent” from being completely forgettable.

First of all, “Insurgent” boasts a cast of some of the most popular young and older actors of our generation. Seasoned Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts, who plays Four’s mysterious acquaintance, contribute significantly to the film’s credibility and kick the whole story up a notch.

Minus Jennifer Lawrence, “Insurgent” has about every skilled, young actor in show business today. There’s Miles Teller who just gave a jaw-dropping performance in “Whiplash.” There’s Ansel Elgort who gave a breakout performance in the teen hit “The Fault in Our Stars.” There’s Shailene Woodley who gave a spectacular performance in “The Descendants.” And there’s Theo James, who hasn’t quite reached the status of the others, but has the abs and smile to reach young adults everywhere.

Now, parts of this movie were highly confusing and slightly awkward to watch considering Shailene Woodley has played opposite Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort in romantic films before.

So in “Insurgent,” Elgort is her brother, but in “The Fault in Our Stars,” she’s making out with him. And in “Insurget,” Teller is Shailene’s buddy, but in “Spectacular Now,” she’s having sex with him. That’s a lot to work through on a Monday night folks. Nevertheless, James and Woodley still managed to get their brief onscreen make out moment, which was the part of the film where I felt James did his best work (you can ask the other women in the theater for confirmation).

Ironically, there was more sexual tension in these steamy five seconds than in the entire “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie. (If you are wondering, I’m still scarred. #neverforget. Also, I don’t think I can use a hashtag here. Well, #yolo). Incestuous issues aside, though I’m still a little concerned, the cast wasn’t the film’s problem. The plot was.

Though “Insurgent” had some debatably interesting plot twists, it took quite some time for them to unfold. Not that I don’t enjoy watching Theo James (and Shailene Woodley I guess) beat various people up for two hours, I just needed them to do it a little faster. The conclusion partially redeemed the preceding two hours, but the whole movie needed to speed it up a bit to keep me (an easily distracted spaz) interested for that amount of time (SQUIRREL!).

In the end, “Insurgent” did manage to exceed my low hopes for the film but failed to reach the level of entertainment and originality in the “Hunger Games” films.

Will this movie make an ungodly amount of money? Yes. Will Theo James and Shailene Woodley melt the hearts of teenagers everywhere with their dystopian love affair? Yes. Is “Insurgent” worth your time? Maybe.

Considering deep down we love fighting, hot young people, and the threat of world destruction, you might as well indulge yourself and see “Insurgent,” because #yolo. Shoot, I did it again.

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