Netflix's latest film release is a disaster movie of the geological apocalypse variety and from the trailer to the special effects to the cast, it looks like perfect summer action movie fare. How It Ends follows Will, a polished but soft lawyer, as he flies from Seattle to Chicago to ask his pregnant partner's father ~for her hand~. He's very hunky and bound to be shirtless at some point, so viewers may be wondering: who plays Will on How It Ends? Theo James may look familiar to fans of the Divergent series.
He played Four — the love interest of Tris, played by Shailene Woodley — in all three films of the Divergent trilogy, based on the YA books by Veronica Roth. James more than proved his appeal as an action star in the films, between smoldering for Tris, nailing the, uh, physical demands of the role, and actually being a very entertaining romantic lead. James also played the lead role of Detective Walter Clark on the short-lived 2013 CBS crime drama Golden Boy. It was axed after just 13 episodes, but James landed the Divergent series right after, so he clearly used the exposure to his advantage. Prior to that, he starred on a 2011 British supernatural drama called Bedlam.
On How It Ends, James' character Will leaves his partner Samantha (played by Kat Graham) behind as he travels to her hometown to meet her gruff, ex-military dad Tom, played by Forest Whitaker. Needless to say, tensions arise. Tom blames Will for Samantha moving 2000 miles away (even though it was her idea to move), and Will gets so intimidated that he chokes on asking for his would-be father-in-law's blessing. As he recounts the disastrous dinner to Samantha over video chat, her feed cuts out just before an ominous message that "something's wrong." The only news reports coming through report a "seismic event" off the cast of California, a heatwave in Europe and other mysterious geological events all over the world. It's not long before power cuts out everywhere, all planes are grounded, and poor Will is stuck with Tom to try and find Sam and also survive the apocalypse.
Tom is, of course, fully equipped to navigate such catastrophe. After leaving the military, he shifted to the lucrative defense space and, if his extremely fancy Chicago apartment is any indication, he's doing very well for himself. Naturally, he has a stash of weapons and other survival toys, so he teams up with Will to try and drive out to Washington, using his connections to navigate the military roadblocks put in place by the government. The pair encounter lawlessness out on the road, a shady government that won't explain what's going on, and Will's general incompetence with firearms, all while the world literally crumbles around them. (Mother Earth has had it with us, y'all.) These obstacles apparently give us enough storyline to fill up an action movie that comes in at just under two hours.
Will Tom and Will make it to Seattle? Is Sam still alive? What is this mysterious event and who caused it and why won't anyone explain what's going on? Based on early reviews of the movie, these questions are drawn out for the course of the film and then it kind of all gets resolved with a "wait, that's it?" ending, but I, for one, am not exactly tuning into disaster movies for subtly crafted plot. I'm perfectly satisfied with the sorts of high stakes that drive Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski into each other's arms à la Deep Impact and nothing else. If I never find out what caused that stunning shot of mountains literally crumbling into dust as Theo James speeds away from them in a car, I'll survive.