Movies Like Divergent to Watch Next for More Dystopian Fantasies

Whether it’s the futuristic dystopian vibe or righteous fights against the system, there’s a whole lot to love about Divergent. The movie itself transports viewers to a seemingly orderly future, where humankind is neatly divided into lifelong factions. There’s Dauntless — the brave and fearless, Candor — the truthful, Amity — the peaceful, Erudite — the brainiacs, and Abnegation — the altruistic. Though she was born into Abnegation, Tris (Shailene Woodley) is an odd piece of the puzzle seeing as she fits everywhere and nowhere. For reasons unknown to her, Tris and her kind are considered a threat to the unnatural order of things.

An adaptation of the eponymous novel written by Veronica Roth, the movie goes on to tell a tale of quiet defiance that’s also deeply cathartic. Think about it; a strong-willed group of youngsters, going against the status quo in their stance against an oppressive government. What’s not to like? If you’re on the lookout for something along the same line, then you’re in luck. This selection offers all the great things about Divergence — bravery, self-discovery, selflessness, and the power of banding together.

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The Maze Runner

Image via 20th Century Fox

In more ways than one, Maze Runner is not so different from Divergent. First, it’s also based on a novel of the same name, it’s set in a dystopian future and features a young, strong-willed, lead. But instead of a “Tris”, Maze Runner features a “Thomas” (Dylan O’Brien) who wakes up in the middle of a labyrinth with no recollection of how he got there (or anything before that). The only bright side of his new predicament is that he’s not alone. Surrounded by a group of mind-scrubbed boys like himself, he discovers that they are trapped in a dangerous and intricate maze. To make it out alive, they must band together to find a way out of the deathtrap they’ve found themselves in.


The Hunger Games

Image via Lionsgate

It doesn’t get more defiant than The Hunger Games, with Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss Everdeen, a young girl who’s representing her district in the titular battle royale. Based on Suzanne Collins’ series of novels of the same name, the movie is set in a dystopian future where the power-drunk have become even drunker. After her younger sister is picked to participate in the titular Hunger Games, Katniss takes her place to compete against 11 other children — to the death. Though the lone survivor is meant to serve as a cog in the Capitol’s intimidation tactic, they never expected that their champion, Katniss, would become the poster child for the resistance.

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The Giver


Much like it is in Divergent, the pseudo-government in The Giver aims to create a utopia of sorts. Did they succeed? Not even in the least bit. The narrative kicks off preceding the aftermath of “The Ruin”, a perilous event that caused communities to embrace the concept of “sameness”. Their new world is void of pain and suffering, but that comes at the expense of emotion, autonomy, and oddly enough, color. There’s always that one person who eventually sees past the mirage, in this case, it’s Jonas ( Brenton Thwaites) who is set to become the community’s next giver. In other words, he’s in line to shoulder the burden of storing the memories of past societies. As he peers into the past, it becomes evident to Jonas that his community’s future is meaningless without those experiences.

The 5th Wave

Image via Sony Pictures

Every now and then, humanity is not the cause of their own calamities, or so The 5th Wave will have us believe. In a bid to take over the planet, alien visitors (referred to as the others) send out four waves that end up hitting humanity where it hurt. The narrative unravels itself through the eyes of Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) a high schooler who’s on a desperate mission to deliver get her little brother to humanity’s last safe haven. As she forges ahead, it becomes evident that the only way to keep her brother safe is to fight for the safety of all mankind.

Dune (2021)

Image via Warner Bros.

Though there’s a 1984 version of this film, based on reception, we are going to recommend the most recent one. This remake introduces us to out-worldly oppressive regimes and gallant heroes set to contend with them. Exactly like the novel it’s based on, Dune builds its narrative around Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a sort of messianic figure. Born with more responsibility than he could imagine, Paul is saddled with the duty of venturing to the most dangerous planet in their known universe to secure the future of his family and people. Unfortunately, the emperor happens to be threatened by everything Paul stands for and is determined to snuff it out.

The Matrix

Image via Warner Bros.

It may not be a direct parallel, but The Matrix definitely features some of the best themes from Divergent. At the forefront of everything is a group of rebels fighting against an oppressive and parasitic foe. However, the bulk of the story is told through the viewpoint of computer programmer Thomas Anderson AKA Neo (Keanu Reeves). He’s practically the chosen one in a covert battle between man and machine. Alongside bold hero types like Morpheus (Laurence Fishburn) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), he finds his footing and becomes the face and fist of the human resistance.

Ready Player One

Tye Sheridan in Ready Player One
Image via Warner Bros.

Ready Player One is set in a dreary post-apocalyptic future where most of humanity prefer to immerse themselves in a virtual reality called the OASIS. After James Halliday (Mark Rylance), OASIS’ creator passes on, he leaves the entirety of his vast fortune within the program, bequeathing it to one lucky player who wins his contest. Naturally, that causes quite a stir as every Tom, Dick, and Harry vie for the prize. This includes Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) and his friends who are collectively known in OASIS as the High Five. After winning the first out of three challenges, they are a couple of steps closer to the grand prize, unfortunately, their headstart places a target on their backs.

The Host (2013)

Image via Open Road Films

Who doesn’t like a dystopian movie with romantic undertones? Well, that’s what this adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s novel offers up. Besides the Twilight series, she wrote The Host and, naturally, it was adapted into a movie. Leaning more toward the sci-fi end of things, the film tells a tale of human enslavement. Alien parasites referred to as “The Souls” settle on earth, and conquer humanity by taking total control of their bodies. Though the phenomenon is widespread, a few free people exist and they band together to plan a coup d’etat of sorts.

The story narrows in on Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), a human that has been infused with a Soul unlike any other. The Soul, known as Wanderer, happens to be sympathetic to humanity’s cause, which makes for quite a tricky situation on both sides. It wouldn’t be a signature Stephanie Meyer story without a love triangle, so that’s something interesting to look forward to.

Ender’s Game

Image via Lionsgate

Based on the eponymous Orson Scott Card novel, this film adaptation explores a reality where the earth has been previously attacked by an alien species known as the Formics. In a bid to find new and creative ways to take down the enemy, gifted children are trained to become the next line of defense (and offense) against the Formics. A standout candidate, Cadet Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) catches the eye of his superiors and soon becomes humanity’s last hope against their enemy. However, just like the other protagonists on this list, Ender figures out that everything is not what it seems and not all wars are righteous.

Alita: Battle Angel

Image via 20th Century Fox

When a movie is an adaptation of an adaptation, then there’s probably something that makes it so unique they had to film it thrice. Well, that’s the case with Alita: Battle Angel, a movie set in a dystopian future, about 300 years after a mega-war known as The Fale. What’s left of humanity has holed itself up in a stronghold known as the Iron City. It’s in that city that cyber doctor, Ido finds the remnants of Alita’s (Rosa Salazar) body parts — including her very human brain. Though Alita has no recollection of her past, one thing is evident, she’s the one-woman squad that will be instrumental in ending the cycle of pain and destruction that earth has become accustomed to.

Chaos Walking

Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland in Chaos Walking
Image via Lionsgate

One of the more recent entries here, Chaos Walking is based on Patrick Ness‘s sci-fi trilogy of the same name. In this version of a dystopian society, there are no women… or secrets. Basically, besides having to live a life void of female companionship, a phenomenon called “the noise” broadcasts the thoughts of all living things. When Viola (Daisy Ridley) crash lands on the nightmare scape of a planet, it throws a lot of things off balance. Fortunately, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) decides to help her escape and makes some discoveries about the planet in the process.

Mortal Engines

Image via Universal

Most of the narratives on this list kick off after a catastrophic event, and Mortal Engines is no exception. Here, it’s referred to as the “Sixty Minute War” and it resulted in the Earth being reshaped and redistributed. What used to be Europe ends up morphing into a continent on wheels, with London being the Giant, picking apart lesser plains in their path. In the midst of the chaos rises Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), fueled by vengeance and ready to take down their entire system of power. It’s yet another catchy tale about a determined group standing in opposition against the powers that be.

The Circle

Image via STXfilms

Mae (Emma Watson) is a young lady who lands a dream role in one of the most formidable social networking companies of her time. To her delight, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) the company’s founder takes her under his wing and makes her part of an exciting, new “full transparency” experiment that’s set to revolutionize the social media sphere. Unfortunately, the more she finds out about the experiment, the more she realizes how much damage it will cause. At that point, it’s evident that she has to revolt against the company. So, yet again, here’s a story of one brave girl rising up against wolves in sheep’s clothing.

In Time

Image via 20th Century Fox

Giving a whole new meaning to the saying “time is the most valuable thing a man can spend”, this movie is set in a future where no one ages… but time has replaced money as the legal tender. Naturally, that translated to the 1% practically basking in immortality, while the poor simply aim at living a day at a time. Here Justin Timberlake plays the role of Will Salas, a pretty poor guy with less than a day to his name. His fortune changes — in more ways than one — once he saves rich man, Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from time thieves. Suddenly he’s the owner of more than a century who’s simultaneously being framed for murder. From that point on, he’s on the run to clear his name and disrupt the system in the process.

Jupiter Ascending

Image via Warner Bros.

To the naked eye, Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is just another minimum wage cleaner, who’s convinced she’s destined for something more. However, it’s not a farfetched thought as she discovers she is technically alien royalty and is the heir to a vast fortune. However, her newfound fortune puts her in grave danger.`Alongside Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), who’s sent to protect her, Jupiter must not only fight for her life, but for the fate of the entire planet Earth.

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Bobby Allyn

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