The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Movie Review
It’s hard to believe the massive phenomenon that is THE HUNGER GAMES is coming to an end. It’s even harder to believe the insanely quick rise of the film series talented leading lady, Jennifer Lawrence, who once again gives a committed performance to the tenacious, troubled heroine. Lawrence’s rising Hollywood star throughout the span of the series, can easily be described much like her character Katniss Everdeen, “The Girl On Fire.” While THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 has hiccups that reinforces why PART 1 and PART 2 belong as one movie, the films as a whole will live on as inspiration for young girls everywhere due to the strong, young, female victor. Based on Suzanne Collins best-selling young adult series by the same name, THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 isn’t the best of the films (like the books, that honor belongs to the first two films), but it is a satisfying end to an entertaining series.
The war in Panem continues, picking up immediately where MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 left off. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is no longer a prisoner but deeply brainwashed to murder Katniss (Lawrence). The leader behind the revolution, President Coin (Julianne Moore) still wants Katniss to unify the thirteen Districts as a symbol of hope, while the evil dictatorship of President Snow (Donald Sutherland), believes the best way to defeat the rebellion is against Katniss. On the other hand, Katniss’ singular desire anymore is to kill President Snow. Katniss, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Peeta, Finnick (Sam Claflin), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), and a handful of other special skilled soldiers are the star team who, under the orders of President Coin, will be filmed from behind the battle, giving hope to the front line soldiers. But as the focus for all parties, the team finds themselves under dire circumstances, fighting their way to the Capitol, trying to avoid deadly pods, one of which that induces fear and tension straight from a horror film, originally built for The Hunger Games arena, now being used in war.
It’s a testament to the characters the story has built, that a big desire in the film is to see more of them. While Haymitch (Woody Harrrelson), Plutarch (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), Effie (Elizabeth Banks), Johanna (Jena Malone), Beetee (Jeffrey Wright), and Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) all reprise their roles in some capacity, many feel a bit forced without much material for the beloved supporting characters. Director Francis Lawrence, may have benefited by staying with characters a beat longer during key moments, helping fix some of the emotional impact that doesn’t always hit as well as it did in the first film. Nonetheless, the thematic issues and brave character choices are admirable, choosing the more honest and difficult route usually ignored by YA novels. Mirroring some of today’s political frustrations, MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 furthers its message of propaganda issues from media and the idea of picking the lesser of two evils within our politicians. Easier said than done in this fictional universe, and a question that we grimly face everyday in our own world, is death necessary for change?
Filling the emptiness of material with much more action, MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 is far better than the flat and overall lackluster effort in PART 1 (click the link to read my review). While I’m sure the studio made a lot more money by unnecessarily splitting the final book, the quality of the these two films suffers greatly. A tighter and much more balanced film could easily be achieved by editing both films into one. Still, PART 2 ends up with the better half of the story, concluding The Districts rebellion against the Capitol and finishing Katniss’s character arc in a dark and fulfilling way. The love story is secondary for Katniss, choosing her sister before Elsa and Anna made it cool in Disney’s FROZEN. As I said before, THE HUNGER GAMES series will live on through Katniss Everdeen, a strong person who leads the boys rather than pining for them, a welcome change for female characters.