THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT (rating to be confirmed)
119 minutes/Opens tomorrow/***
The story: Tris (Shailene Woodley) is on the run following the attack on Abnegation coordinated by the Erudite faction, as seen in Divergent (2014). Along with Four (Theo James) and other members of Dauntless, she takes shelter on a farm run by Amity. But Erudite forces led by Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) are on a manhunt. Tris is made a special target because she is Divergent, an undesirable with a hybrid of traits.
In the first movie (Divergent, 2014), Tris (Woodley) is shown to be bright, brave and strong and here, she is shown to be slightly more bright, brave and strong.
That is to say, there is little by way of character development. Tris, along with lover Four (James) and everyone else, has not grown more complex or interesting in the four hours it has taken to tell the story thus far.
The only perceivable point of progress is that more than ever, people around Tris state the centrality of her role in the coming social upheaval, a responsibility to which she responds with the correct amount of humility and embarrassment.
If the first movie was a Star Wars-style coming-of-age piece - a young person discovers she is The Chosen One and begins a journey of selfdiscovery - then this one feels more like an action-oriented placeholder that sets the stage for the two-part finale.
There are clear derivations from The Matrix (1999) and the anime Ghost In The Shell (1995), especially the scenes in which Tris fights battles in virtual reality while nested in a tangle of hoses suspending her in mid-air.
In between the battles and chases that occur in both the real and the unreal worlds, there are slower moments.
Her lover Four, as is usual in young-adult land, exists mainly as a protector and emotional echo chamber for the female lead character.
In what is becoming another young-adult genre cliche, Tris opens up to her boyfriend about her pain and lack of self-confidence.
She, like too many young adult heroines, spends longish periods avoiding her destiny as a leader, choosing to wallow in self-doubt and is moved to action only after checking the feelings of people around her.