The Divergent Series: Allegiant movie full length review - "Allegiant" brings forward the series' strong story, but does so with a weak script.
Divide and conquer ? the box office, that is. The pattern should be familiar to Movie Fans and book worms alike (especially to people who are both).
Take a popular YA book series and make the books into movies, but spread the final book's story over two films. This was done in adapting the "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" books and then "The Divergent Series" followed suit. Of course, it was the same production company behind that decision in those first two examples that made the decision for that third film series as well, but the "Harry Potter" film series had already set the precedent by turning the seventh Potter book into a two-film extravaganza. In fact, 2013 is the only year between 2010 and 2017 without (in spirit if not in name) a "Part 1" or "Part 2" of some YA film series finale in American theaters.
"The Divergent Series: Allegiant" (PG-13, 2:01) represents the first half of "Allegiant", the final book in Veronica Roth's "Divergent" trilogy (with the second half of "Allegiant" hitting the big screen as "The Divergent Series: Ascendant" in June 2017). In the case of those final two YA book to movie series, "The Hunger Games" and the "Divergent Series", you could say "four is the new three". And after seeing the third "Divergent" film, "The Divergent Series: Allegiant", it could also be said that Four is the new Tris.
"Allegiant" picks up almost immediately after Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (Naomi Watts) takes over for Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) as ruler of post-apocalyptic Chicago by putting a bullet in Jeanine's brain. Now, Jeanine's minions are on trial for aiding and abetting her murderous abuse of power. The faction system which prevailed in the city during the series up to this point is now defunct, but a new rift has formed in this dystopian society ? between those who want nothing more than to live in peace ? and those who still want to fight to force their will on all the people. Evelyn represents that latter group and Johanna Reyes (Octavia Spencer) represents the former. Our favorite young divergent, Tris (Shailene Woodley), aligns herself more closely with Johanna, but is more interested in finding out what is beyond the city walls and she's hoping that her lover and fellow divergent, Four (Theo James) will come with.
Like Jeanine before her (although for different reasons), Evelyn is committed to keeping everyone within the city walls, at least for the time being. Tris isn't willing to wait. With the help of Four, Christina (Zoë Kravitz) and Tori (Maggie Q), and with the duplicitous Peter (Miles Teller) and Tris' brother, Caleb (Ansel Elgort), in tow (each having been forgiven for his previous betrayals), Tris makes a run for it. Although hotly pursued by Edgar (Jonny Weston), Evelyn's most loyal and ruthless lieutenant, Tris and company manage to make it to a previously unknown futuristic city inhabited by those who originally set up the faction system and orchestrated that grand social experiment from which Tris' group has just escaped.
Tris and friends settle into their new home and start jobs serving the government. David (Jeff Daniels), the Director of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, takes a personal interest in Tris. He convinces her that she is personally and uniquely able to help him reverse the genetic tampering that was done before the war that destroyed most of the planet two centuries earlier. It's nothing less than an opportunity to save mankind. Tris is a bit wary, but she wants to help. This time, Four is the one who is the rebel and refuses to go along with the program. He's jealous of David monopolizing Tris' time, but he also just doesn't trust David. With the help of Matthew (Bill Skarsgård), one of David's assistants, Four gets the chance to test his suspicions and try to change the course of events before something (else) really bad happens.
With "The Divergent Series: Allegiant", the film series is showing some serious cracks. The visual effects, acting and overall story remain strong and I remain enthusiastic about the series' underlying message of tolerance and acceptance of personal differences, but the script in this third film has really gone off the rails. This movie doesn't have as much fresh action as the other films in the series (similar to "The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire"), but the script's big problems lie in its plot points and dialog. We see heroes as well as villains trust each other when it's obvious they shouldn't, and they say and do things that just don't make sense given who these characters are and what they're doing to pursue their goals.
I can't get very specific and still avoid spoilers, but here are some general examples of what I mean: If you don't want people to see what's going on in a certain location, don't give them complete access to your surveillance system! If you don't want your superiors to know what's really happening on your watch, don't introduce them to the one person who is most interested and willing to tell them the truth! And if people tell you they're stealing your space ship ? believe them! Here's hoping that those obvious cracks in "Allegiant" don't turn into fissures in the final film and do to this series what the greed and selfishness in the series' story did to the great city of Chicago. "B-"