With less than a week to go until “Divergent” hits theaters, the first reviews for the YA adaptation have begun to show up online, and the handful of takes from industry trades and blogs have been mixed.
Check out what the critics are saying about “Divergent” in our quick roundup below.
“It’s also an idea that loses much of its potency in the movie adaptation, as director Neil Burger struggles to fuse philosophy, awkward romance and brutal action. Even with star Shailene Woodley delivering the requisite toughness and magnetism, the clunky result is almost unrelentingly grim. Dystopia can be presented in dynamic ways, but this iteration of it is, above all, no picnic for the audience. —Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
“Thankfully, Woodley makes for more than uncertain enough of a hero to add detail and meaning to the implosion of this world. Not unlike ‘The Hunger Games’ actress Jennifer Lawrence, there’s little artifice to her performance, and the mundane honesty of her reactions create a believability that the world would otherwise lack. As Four, meanwhile, James manages the considerable accomplishment of seeming like a real grown-up man rather than a teenage girl’s image of a dreamy boy, and he makes the character’s transformation from hardass to collaborator seem natural, if inevitable.” —Todd Gilchrist, The Playlist
‘Clearing its throat’
“Even though it stretches to nearly two-and-a-half hours and concludes with an extended gun battle, by the time ‘Divergent’ ends, it still seems to be in the process of clearing its throat. Blame it on burdensome commercial expectations, perhaps: Adapted from the first novel in Veronica Roth’s blockbuster YA series, this film has clearly been designated an heir apparent to Summit-Lionsgate’s massively lucrative teen-targeted ‘Twilight’ and ‘Hunger Games’ properties. Yet director Neil Burger seems so concerned with laying franchise groundwork that he neglects to create an engaging standalone movie.” — Andrew Barker, Variety
“Divergent” opens in theaters on March 21.