The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016)

I was hoping this movie would take the time to explain what “allegiant” means, since the word is in its title and supposedly has something to do with all those Divergent kids running around. But alas, it means diddly-squat. The only time it’s used in the movie is when a resistance group rises to combat a totalitarian regime and adopts the name The Allegiant. Big deal. They could’ve called themselves The Bobblywobblers and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Side note: I still don’t fully understand “divergent” either.

There’s actually a lot I don’t understand about this movie. Why, for example, do our band of heroes have to bother with grappling hook guns to get over the mammoth wall that separates Chicago from the rest of the world when, later on, characters seem to zip in and out of the windy city as if through a secret door? Also, once they cross over the wall, they’re chased by machine gun-wielding thugs in buggies (who don’t have grappling hook guns, by the way) until they come across an invisible gate that slides open to reveal another world on the other side. A soldier from that world steps up to them and says, “We’ve been waiting for you”. How long have they been waiting? The plains beyond the wall are so vast they stretch to the horizon. How did the soldiers know the fugitives would run directly into the path of their invisible gate and not in another direction? Now there’s a question to make you think.

This is a tiresome, lifeless plod of a movie, where teenagers are forced to forever display heightened emotions of fear and sadness when they should otherwise be enjoying the wonders of life. There is not a scene that goes by that doesn’t have our heroes looking frantic or paranoid. They live life on the edge. I guess they have to, considering the dangers that await them should they slip up, but come on, you’re telling me there’s no room for one Scrabble scene? Or, heaven forbid, a party where they all get drunk off their faces? There’s not even a pet cat! Aren’t they tired of grown ups crossing and double crossing them? Allegiances are so flippant in these Young Adult stories I keep expecting everyone to remove their faces, à la Mission: Impossible, to the gasps of all the engrossed onlookers in the audience.

I’m not going to bother listing the characters and the actors who play them. They’re not vital to the story, and I’m pretty sure if you cared at all you would’ve studied their biographies from the earlier two movies, like any good Divergent student. Instead I’m going to try to make sense of Allegiant’s plot, which I’m predicting will get more complicated as I go along. I swear this movie’s like a Rubik’s Cube for the blind.

Okay, so we have Katni- I mean, Beatrix Kidd- I mean, Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley), who’s in love with Four (Theo James) and is good buddies with a couple of other renegades. Who they are doesn’t matter. But one of them is Lenny Kravitz’s daughter.

Tris Prior and friends are brought to a parallel dimension (?), where thousands of adolescent refugees welcome them with enthusiasm and good cheer. Tris, of course, is singled out, because she’s Divergent, and is brought to meet Dave (Jeff Daniels), a well-suited, tailored man, who says he and Tris have to get to work! What work? You’ll find out. Or maybe you won’t. Dave answers to the mysterious Council, which is responsible for genetic testing and harvesting humans in a controlled environment (y’know, like Chicago) to test their responses to various drugs and stimuli. I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about this, but hey, I don’t care.

What with this character double crossing that character, and this war threatening that civilisation, and this man tricking that woman, Tris and friends are caught, yet again, in a struggle for survival. This time, though, they have to deal with a vicious memory-wiping gas, something no doubt concocted by Adam West in a Batman costume. They are betrayed. Four is captured. Tris has to rescue him. Sinister schemes are afoot. Yada yada. A sequel is teased. Hoorah.

You know, I’m suddenly no longer bothered to find out what “allegiant” means.

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