The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - Review
The Hunger Games is one of the few franchises that has been able to avoid the terrible young adult dystopian future adaptation curse, but does that mean its finale turned out?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 picks up right where part 1 left off, with Katniss having been attacked by Peeta after his rescue from the capitol. As the final chapter of the Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay Part 2 has some pretty big loose ends to tie up, which it does almost exactly to the letter of the book. If you have read the book, you know about that disappointing epilogue, and it is re created here exactly as told in the book. If you haven't read the book, I won't spoil it here, but it left me feeling as if certain characters completely changed their personalities over the passing of a few months. The third act of the film is full of twists and turns, and one shocking character death, but the death feels pointless. The reasons for the death are never clearly explained, and I never felt like I knew who was responsible for it. I wasn't a fan of Mockingjay Part 1, given its extremely drab and slow pace; it felt like the cardinal example of a movie being stretched out into two parts just to make more money. Mockingjay Part 2 is a full- blown action movie, and certain aspects of the film certainly appealed more to my love of explosions, but that's not always a good thing.
Mockingjay Part 2 puts Katniss Everdeen in a place we've never seen her before; bored. The original gusto and energy Jennifer Lawrence brought to the character seems to have been slowly sapped away, and with Lawrence as the star, we get to see a whole lot of that boredom. Part of what made Katniss a believable and successful character in the past was her relationship with Peeta Mellark, which is completely absent here, for plot reasons. Peeta is still just as broken as he was in part 1, now just out in the open. It isn't all bad though, newcomers to the series like Sam Claflin and old comers like the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and the ever creepy Donald Sutherland still give admirable performances, but either fall out of the story too quickly or are completely ignored. Both Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson's characters are criminally under used, and when they are they feel like vessels for nostalgia, rather than actual characters who helped define the series' unique brand of dark comedy.
The visuals and sound design of the Hunger Games series has always been my favorite part, which may be part of the reason this film seemed so boring. It follows the same stylistic choices of Mockingjay Part 1, which means a lot of gray streets and blown out buildings. The one aspect of the film that brings back some of the tension found in the first two films is in the traps or "pods" scattered around the capitol. The film is at its most exciting when Katniss and company are maneuvering through the streets and sewers waiting for the next pod to go off, which makes every other moment feel like filler until they get to the next road block.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 gives a satisfying, albeit confused, ending to the remarkable Hunger Games franchise. While some more creativity and removal of the out of place epilogue would have been major improvements, this is still a solid finale to a better than average young adult series.
Pros- Donald Sutherland as President Snow, traps, some memorable deaths
Cons- Boring Jennifer Lawrence, under used supporting cast, out of place epilogue