There’s always been a distinct whiff of "Will this do?" around the dystopian sci-fi saga adapted from Veronica Roth’s teen-friendly Divergent books, and this penultimate instalment is no exception. It doesn’t help that the basic psychological concepts underpinning the story still feel completely half-baked and idiotic.
We pick up the story following the faction system’s collapse at the end of the previous movie, Insurgent. Naomi Watts’s sneering Evelyn has taken charge of a ruined future Chicago, backed by a multi-ethnic rabble of leather-clad twentysomethings who look like refugees from The Matrix. It’s time for plucky Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her glowering paramour Four (Theo James) to blow town, heading over the wall to find out what lurks in the wasteland beyond. (Spoiler: It’s Jeff Daniels.)
For about half an hour, this is fairly entertaining: the rubble-strewn landscapes feel impressively real, Woodley is a game heroine and Miles Teller is brilliantly typecast as a mouthy douchebag that no one likes. But as internal logic goes out of the window and the plot contrivances pile up ("I’ve got a machine that can see through walls!" or "I know how to fly a plane without ever having seen one before!"), the film becomes increasingly trying. It all leads to a climax so staggeringly lazy and glib that you honestly expect Woodley just to turn to the camera in the final scene, shrug her shoulders and walk off.