Divergent_film_posterDivergent was beautiful to look at with its stylistic approach in presenting a dystopian society. However, I was expecting it to be made more with substance and not just style. The writing tried to make the story deeper than it could, though its too predictable of an ending forbid it to be so.

I like how the writers made a good introduction of the Divergent story. Those people who haven’t read the book must be introduced to the plot: In the future, people living in Chicago are divided into five factions (Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Candor, Amity) which are determined based on each person’s character. The story’s heroine, Tris Prior, is a divergent: a person who doesn’t conform as he or she can think independently and does possess the virtues of not just one faction. Jeanine Matthews, leader of Erudite, wants to eradicate her type as divergents are not predictable, therefore, dangerous. It’s up to Tris, her friends and her family to stop Matthews from her evil plan.

Shailene Woodley showed promise as Tris Prior, but it’s evident that she’s no Jennifer Lawrence. Even though many of her antics and nuances are consistent with her character, I found her not tough enough for the role. Theo James on the other hand, made Four, Tris’s love interest, real on the screen. Their supporting cast was good enough, though none left a remarkable performance other than Kate Winslet, whose cool confidence made her a good fit as Jeanine Matthews.

Everyone though that Divergent would be the next Hunger Games but it simply isn’t. It may be better than other movies based on dystopian books  that are released recently but it is not as good as the aforementioned movie based on the Suzanne Collins novel. Divergent’s got commendable visual effects though its lack of action and good direction made it just a so-so of a movie. Is it a waste of the Veronica Roth story? Not really. It could just have been made a lot better.

Divergent’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 3 out of 5


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain American posterCaptain America is definitely one of the best superhero movie sequels out there. Smartly written, action-packed and well-directed, The Winter Soldier proves once again Marvel’s ability to make great sequels out of their superhero movies. I honestly didn’t know what the movie was about before watching yet I had high hopes for it because I loved the first Captain America movie. I was pleasantly surprised because The Winter Soldier exceeded my expectations.

Great, great action scenes. No other superhero movie has impressed me this much in terms of hand-to-hand combat. It also succeeded in delivering scenes with an array of gadgets, weapons and advanced vehicles. These scenes comprise a lot of time and they were actually fun to watch because they were clearly captured, thanks to great editing and camerawork.

Major requirements for superhero movies are stunningly good visual effects and pretty excellent sound effects. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has both. Yet, what made this movie really stand out from the other superhero movies is its minimal use of CGI effects. The audience would get to appreciate all the combat scenes where incredible stunts were made and awesome fight choreography was played out.  What stood out were scenes of great, great action.

Smart script. The story of the Winter Soldier is a solid one. The audiences may not be familiar with the plot, but it’ll eventually unfold on their eyes as the movie progresses. It’s great how the script tied in Captain America’s real relation to the so-called Winter Soldier character to the remarkable threat the terrorist group called HYDRA is posing to America’s pseudo-homeland security agency called SHIELD. The former subplot played out just right and didn’t appear too shallow or cheesy at all. The HYDRA subplot actually covers the first subplot but the focus there is how the said terrorist organization has come to infiltrate SHIELD, thereby compromising it and its operations.

Good performances. Every lead and supporting actor in the movie delivered well during the whole movie feature. Chris Evans proves once again why he’s a good fit to be this generation’s Captain America. He has not only given what he’s asked to do as both the patriotic superhero captain and the good, old friend of his current nemesis, but he’s also able to show the development of his character woth his solid performance. Also delivering exciting performances are Sebastian Stan (as the Winter Soldier), Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow), and Anthony Mackie (as Falcon). Not to forget Samuel L. Jackson (as Nick Fury) and Robert Redford (as Alexander Pierce) who are as great as ever.

Good editing and directing. A bit predictable at times, this movie is nevertheless as suspenseful and exciting as it could get. The great story-telling Anthony and Joe Russo, the movie’s directors, did have made the audience care about what’s really happening in the story. And this made every scene as exciting as the other.

As I have said, I am extremely satisfied with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And this made me anticipate the next Marvel movies that are coming out soon. Here’s hoping they’re as good, if not better, than this Captain America movie.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4.5 out of 5