“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…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, and Divergent‘s uncertain sense of setting, bloated plot, drab visual style and solid yet underwhelming lead turns from Shailene Woodley and Theo James don’t necessarily make the best case for series newcomers.” — from Andrew Barker‘s 3.16 Variety review.