Woodley works hard to keep allegiance to Divergent franchise

(From IMDb.com)

(From IMDb.com)

Even the followers of the novels of Veronica Roth had to be wondering what Tris Prior and her band of never-very-merry followers would find on the other side of that wall around Chicago in the latest installment of this dramatic action franchise.

And those who come to this third part unread of her YA work, such as me, well …

The Divergent Series: Allegiant, directed by Robert Schwentke from a screenplay by Noah Oppenheimer and Adam Cooper from Roth’s novel Allegiant looks and feels quite different from its predecessors. For one, Beatrice and her main gang — boyfriend Four, brother Caleb, troublemaker Peter and tough, loyal girl friends Christina and Tori — are older and presumably wiser, though still looking for power couple Tris and Four for much of the leadership of mind and body.

And the adults at the top of the power struggle that is this dystopian mess of a future are still bickering and fighting and doing not much more to prove their way is best for all factions.

So Tris and Four take ’em over the wall. Shailene Woodley and Theo James again play it serious to the hilt. Taciturn and powerful, she the undeniable alpha and he seemingly happy with his role of, too. Angel Elgort was better as her romantic love interest in The Fault in Our Stars but he makes the most of his nerdy brain brother role, and Miles Teller smarms his mouthy way again as Peter. Zoe Kravitz is a dynamo in a small package, and Maggie Q makes the most of her most dramatic scene. Truth be known, these actors are all getting a bit long in the tooth for these just-were-kids characters, me thinks, with part four to be delivered a year down the line?

Inside the walls, Naomi Watts reprises her moody role as now-she’s-attached, then-she’s-wasn’t mom to Four, and Octavia Spencer again is steady as thoughtful Johanna.

But it’s outside Chicago that’s the eye opener, with gadgets to amaze these young people, and a welcome that makes them feel so wonderful.

Except the differences aren’t what they seem at first, of course.

And that leader David, who’s taken Tris under his wing and knows all about them because of his marvelous technology? Let’s say Jeff Daniels is making a pretty good living these days playing characters a lot like this dude.

But Tris and Four, well, they are up for adventures in the outside world, or there wouldn’t be a franchise, now, would there?

The smallish Friday night crowd in the big Regal Cinemas theater in Syracuse’s Shoppingtown Mall seemed to still have an allegiance. It was all OK, but not quite up to the first two. And the cliff-hanger didn’t seem quite as high as that dang wall around Chicago.

Shailene Woodley or Jennifer Lawrence for you in these YA action movies, and why? What’s your favorite movie with a colon in the title, and why? What’s your favorite Jeff Daniels character, and why?

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11 thoughts on “Woodley works hard to keep allegiance to Divergent franchise

  1. I like Jennifer Lawrence better as the normal hero that can do anything. Shailene spends a lot of time, looking intensely into the faces of others. She is a too over-the-top tough girl. I tried to make it through the Insurgent move, but never finished it. I think I am just done with teenagers and dystopian worlds. It seems to have been over-explored.

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  2. I don’t really go for these teenager action franchises, so I’ve not see either actress in these. I have thought Jennifer Lawrence was terrific in the few movies I’ve seen her in.
    I’m a little fascinated by how well-regarded Shaelene Woodley seems to have become in the movie world. I watched Secret Life of an American Teenager (one of many teenager things I’ve watched because I liked people they cast in the adult roles…) for a while but eventually couldn’t take it because it seemed the criteria for hiring the teenagers was “inability to act” or “piece of wood talking”… but good looking, of course. And I’d have put Shaelene high on my list of the bad actors. I did think she was a little better in Descendants but has she really improved to be an actress, who can, well, act?

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  3. i’m not a big ya action film fan, though i did see the first hunger games and enjoyed it. i liked sw in the descendants, and have enjoyed jl in most everything i’ve seen her in. as for jeff, my fav role for him was from way back in something wild )

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