This third outing in the dystopian adventures of Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) in post-apocalyptic Chicago is a disappointing come-down from the first two films, which only just skated by on the novelty of a female action hero, and the appealing metaphor for the struggle against enforced conformity her world offered. Now, the reasons for the apparently precarious foundations of her world are revealed, metaphor no longer, and the concrete reality it is replaced by is far less intriguing. With Chicago’s citizens welcomed to rejoin the rest of humanity outside the wall that has contained them, off go Tris, her boyfriend/lieutenant Four (Theo James) and a handful of others, to see what—and who—is out there. They find accidental conundrums of plot and character that smarter scripting and a more cohesively considered science-fiction culture-scape could have avoided, including a huge plot hole here that brings the entire story crumbling down, one that will echo through the rest of the film: “Why didn’t those experimenters just do X?” The ending is so foregone as to be downright anticlimactic—and there’s still another whole movie to be gotten through.
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