In the near future an illness strikes all the children of the world. Those who survive are left with powers that the adults categorise by colour. Greens, blues and yellows are rounded up into camps, whilst oranges and reds are executed. Our hero Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) is an orange placed into a camp when she was 10. Able to conceal her power through mind control and broken out by the mysterious Children’s League at 16 we follow her as she makes new friends on the run.
Based on a young adult novel and very much borrowing from the themes of the X-Men, this is a solid, if not spectacular film aimed at a teen audience. As with The Hunger Games (which Stenberg appeared in), The Maze Runner and The Divergent films we have teenagers learning to embrace who they are and their differences from others whilst living in a dystopian world they need to challenge and free themselves from. The powers on display (telekinesis, controlling electricity and mind control) fit firmly in the X-Men camp whilst the colour coding of the children fits very much into the districts of Hunger Games and personality traits of Divergent. And of course there is a romance which will be challenged by external forces as well.
The young cast is mostly very good. The two leads are charismatic and watchable whilst the rest of the cast fill their archetypes well. The most wasted actor here is Gwendoline Christie who you may know from Game of Thrones or the latest Star Wars films. Playing a bounty hunter, her only job seems to be to pop up and appear dangerous before disappearing from the film again.
Of course the novels it is based on are a series, with 4 complete so far and the film is set up to continue with further instalments. But given the difficulties the Divergent series has faced in being completed following the poor box office of the 3rd film, Allegiant I would question if this is a strong enough contender to warrant more films.
Entertaining enough, but nothing to last in the memory.