Let me start by stating that I have not read Insurgent but have read Divergent. I wanted to see Insurgent before reading the second novel in the series. That being said, I loved this movie.
Shailene Woodley (Tris) who was quite good in Divergent is even better in the sequel. Tough and vulnerable, self-sacrificing yet angry she is everywoman. She struggles greatly with the weight of her parent's deaths and her own role she has played in harming others. At heart she is Abnegation. Her performance with the truth telling serum pumping through her veins is one of the best scenes in the movie.
The second movie takes off right where the first one ended, Tris and Four are taken in by Amity faction but their troubles are far from over. Jeanine, played by Kate Winslet, is on a quest and it is to discover the divergent who can open a mysterious box. Jeanine is intense, pragmatic and selfish. Winslet is the perfect combination of iciness and frustrated leader.
Tris and Four are still a winning duo. Sexy, smart, strong and gentle with Tris, Four has his own demons to exercise. This is one area that could have been explored a little more in the film. Also making appearances again are Miles Teller who has a bit of charm and daring and Ansel Elgort as Tris's brother. I found myself drawn much more to Teller's performance than Elgort's. Naomi Watts has a rather interesting role as the leader of the factionless. In some ways she reminds me of Winslet's character, a woman who takes on the world with no apologies. Her performance is spot on.
The visual effects are stunning and bold. This is an action packed movie, well-paced with many twists and turns along the way (I do not want to give away any spoilers). Since I had not read the book, I had no idea what was coming and I was surprised several times. I liked this movie right from the start and was completely engrossed in the story. I look forward to the next installment.