'Divergent Series: Allegiant' Gets Panned by Critics

"Even passable performances can hardly dispel the kitsch level of this third installment, especially with a finale whose major plot device looks like it was lifted from an episode of the old Batman TV series."

The critics are diverging away from Allegiant.

Lionsgate's third installment in what will be a four-part sci-fi saga based on Veronica Roth’s best-selling YA trilogy features a cast including Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer and Jeff Daniels, and is directed by Robert Schwentke.

The film earned $2.4 million on Thursday night (down from Insurgent's strong $4.1 million in Thursday-night showings this time last year), and on Friday afternoon, the film had a score of 34 on Metacritic and just 10 on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Mintzer notes, "There’s nothing very divergent about Allegiant, ... where big ideas are often bottled down into resounding clichés, this handsomely made effects-driven vehicle offers more of the same and then some. ... Despite four credited writers one often gets the impression that Allegiant was designed by an algorithm trying to please the maximum amount of viewers with the minimum amount of flair or intelligence. ... Even passable performances can hardly dispel the kitsch level of this third installment, especially with a finale whose major plot device looks like it was lifted from an episode of the old Batman TV series."

The New York Times' Jeannette Catsoulis writes, "A story that kicked off two years ago at a reasonable gallop has now slowed to barely a limp. ... Ill-defined and padded with tame special effects, these scenes are so lacking in narrative momentum that we can almost hear the hum of a plot idling in neutral." Plus, Woodley "feels disengaged here and a little tired," Spencer "appears similarly detached" and James is "even more expressionless than usual if that's possible."

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers warns, "If you're not mad as hell, so mad that you're not gonna take it anymore, then you damn well ought to be. Allegiant is another one of those cynical Hollywood cash grabs that takes the third book in bestselling juvie-lit trilogy (see Twilight and The Hunger Games) and stretches that last book into two movies so audiences are tricked into paying twice for egregiously padded piffle. Diligent Divergent readers probably know Roth's third book was hardly good enough for one movie. So the screenwriters actually invent stuff of their own. If only their stuff had a spark of life it might be forgivable, but Allegiant plods along like a franchise on its last legs." The upcoming installment is "laughably called Ascendant — ironic, considering the only place the misbegotten series is going is down down down."

The Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan notes, "This first part is mildly diverting, unsophisticated fare that takes liberties with the original novel yet still stumbles on confusing exposition that doesn't really make complete sense even when it's taken from the book." The film has "comic-book dialogue," "high school-style emotions" and a plot that's "far-fetched even by the standards for the genre, not to mention confusing."

New York Daily News' Stephen Whitty gives the film two stars out of five and says the series "is supposed to be about following your true path. So isn't it time it found its way back to being fun? ... The only thing that's revolting is how dull the series has gotten. ... Two hours later, we know nothing more about [the characters] or the story than we did at the beginning — except that there's still another sequel due next summer. And that's one thing to which I can't pledge allegiance."

The New York Post's Lou Lumenick says, giving it a score of zero on Metacritic, "If you’ve ever found a layover at O’Hare stultifying, it’s a positive joy compared to what happens there in Allegiant. ... None of the pieces fits and absolutely nothing makes any sense. Woodley and the other cast members plodding their way through the inanities and plot craters of Allegiant make, say, Chris Christie look positively perky."

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