Just like the “Because You Watched…” recommendations on your favorite streaming service, Now Playing Podcast wants to help you find the perfect companion flicks. Each week, contributor Chris Bravo brings you fresh recommends that tie in with one of our reviews.
Besides being built on hope, what do rebellions have in common? They’re the central threads that tie together the dystopian young adult stories of the Maze Runner and Divergent series. That includes the two entries in question this week–Maze Runner: The Death Cure, and my recommended pairing, Insurgent (2015), the second installment in its series. While I looked at the other movies in the glut of YA dystopia that the 2010s were full of, none of them had the same level of expansiveness, well-defined characters, and satisfying plot developments. Not The Giver, not The 5th Wave, and not Ender’s Game.
So I went back to the series I recommended in my last article, and the second entry in it is actually as good as the first one. It took characters I grew to care about over the course of Divergent, tasked them with new problems, against new adversaries, and complicated their society with new wrinkles and twists. Much like how The Death Cure introduced us to new factions like Lawrence and his crew of rebels, Insurgent gives us further insight into the caste of people known as the Factionless, led by Evelyn (Naomi Watts). We meet the pacifist faction of Amity, led by Johanna (Octavia Spencer). The action, the special effects, and the story really keep me engaged throughout, even if some plot points are completely predictable and ultimately perfunctory.
This is no rebellion against the Empire. But if Maze Runner: The Death Cure really got you in the mood for some more teenagers fighting against adults in corrupt, government positions, and you enjoyed Divergent, then you’ll like the second installment, too. It’s too bad I can’t say the same for Allegiant.