I have to admit that it took years and a bout of flu to get me around to watching the second film in the Divergent series. I enjoy the first film and the first book, but with Veronica Roth’s creation I have never gone any further because I don’t feel particularly connected to any of the characters.
I thought I would give Insurgent a try, and once again the world-building entertained me, and the plot even intrigued me this time. The introduction to the city in the first book was great, and delving even deeper into the lives of the various factions and non-factions was just as interesting in Insurgent. I still haven’t read the book, but I am tempted to do so now, which is always a good thing after watching an film adapted from a book.
But, even though the world and the story are better, I don’t care about the characters. I’m not entirely sure why I don’t either. Coming from the perspective of a writer, all of the characters are well rounded, their motivations are clear and you understand them as people. Essentially you understand why they do what they do, the vast majority of the time.
Four was mysterious enough in the first installment and some of that gets unraveled in this film to great effect, but I don’t care about his motivations. Tris is less mysterious than Four, and I will admit to being heart broken for her during the first film when her mother died, and while she is still dealing with that and the consequences of her actions, again I just don’t care about her.
The only speculation I have as to why I feel like this is to do with the way in which the world Roth has created doesn’t encourage strong emotional bonding between characters, especially family units. The separation of family by faction takes precedent, and in Dauntless in particular strong bonds aren’t likely when you’re pitted against your peers. I think it is this emotional denial behind why I don’t invest myself. The characters aren’t motivated to invest in one another and therefore I don’t in them.
Again the film is entertaining and worth a watch, but it is not the best YA adaptation out there.