The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Review
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is a 2015 science fiction war film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Julian Moore and Donald Sutherland. It is the fourth and final installment of the Hunger Games franchise.
The plot once again follows the book very closely and that is a choice done for better and for worse as the third book is my least favorite in the series. It literally copies the book mainly in some dialogue which is taken line by line and also with some dramatic scenes which were just as I imagined them to be. I love that this franchise was so faithful to the source material and the movie is emotional and a satisfying, epic conclusion to this wonderful series, but I still had many problems with its execution and that is of course the unfortunate choice to split the final book into two movies which still remains a big issue. The previous movie was very slow-paced and so uneventful and the first act in Mockingjay – Part 2 definitely continues that trend, but somewhat quickens the pace as it progresses. This most certainly is the better of the two movies, but I still would have preferred to see just one longer movie instead of two and it would have turned out much better that way.
However, what I liked about this installment is that, despite their leaving every action set piece for the finale, it still isn’t too fast paced and too action-oriented due to prolonged running time and an emphasis on political discussions. That I appreciated a lot as it is one of the big reasons why I’ve always enjoyed the franchise – it is a blockbuster, but still one with dramatic and political sensibilities. And although the dialogue wasn’t as good as in some previous entries and the character moments and especially the more intimate conversations were definitely lacking and not particularly sophisticated, the political discussions are everything but as those were so phenomenal, both smart and dramatically intense. I particularly liked Plutarch’s letter to Katniss as it so truthfully tells us that humans are destructive beings and that peace will arrive after a giant war, but not for a long time as wars will always be present as it is in man’s nature. That was so relevant and so honest and a perfect example of the series’ parallels to real life.
But I still found the conclusion to be optimistic as it did end on a melancholy, but optimistic note. Yes, there were too many endings here, but all were satisfying, at least to me. Katniss’ emotional burst near the end was so impactful, the assassination was just fantastic as I expected it to be and the protagonist’s talk at the very end was beautiful. Those were all phenomenal, but as I said, the endings did pile too much into one another and that is due to some really troublesome structure. Yes, it is pretty bad. The beginning is too slow and dragged and the endings were great, but there were too much of those. I did like the pacing, but the structure itself is problematic and that is all due to the novel split which was a bad choice in the first place.
The character development was good here, admittedly not as good as before, but still satisfying. Katniss remains such a strong female protagonist and I really loved her character once again. Yes, her love story isn’t as well realized, but she is still such a grounded and even unsympathetic character which is such a departure from the usual main character. Peeta wasn’t particularly well utilized this time around and the over-reliant focus on his character was unfortunate. Gale was good and tragic as is Finnick and I once again loved Haymitch and especially Effie who is such a sweetheart and one of my favorite characters in the series.
Johanna was phenomenal for the little screen time she received and the squad characters are all lacking and underused unfortunately. But President Snow is such a great character and his dialogue with Katniss near the end is just fantastic and one of the film’s highlights. The same goes for President Coin who wasn’t that well utilized in the previous installment, but was stupendous this time around and that commentary on leadership, especially regarding her character, is such a sophisticated and standout touch.
The acting is naturally terrific. Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t particularly good or memorable in the first half, but she still proved herself later on with a powerful performance in a demanding role. Josh Hutcherson was the weak link with a weaker performance, but Liam Hemsworth is quite good and Jena Malone is superb. Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks of course both did a phenomenal job and I just love both of those characters and especially their relationship and their moment near the end was heartwarming. Donald Sutherland and Julian Moore both gave fantastic performances and are so memorable in their roles, especially Sutherland who is one of the standouts in this franchise.
The action is really well executed as always and that is one of the series’ highlights. The sewer sequence is phenomenally intense and so well executed and I loved all the traps in the Capitol as it reminded me of the real Hunger Games. The action isn’t overwhelming and is very entertaining and that is a double punch. And the whole movie is solidly paced and never boring or rushed.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 looks really good with stupendous scenery and it is beautifully shot. The effects are also mostly good and the fashion and interiors and exteriors in particular are beautiful to behold. The tone is well handled, ranging from dramatic to political to action to even a romance. And yes, the movie is dark and serious, but that was needed for this kind of film. And it most definitely is a war picture which I loved as it has real-life connotations despite being a fiction and is just so sophisticated and engaging in its approach. The emotion was lacking at first, but the second half improved on that with a couple of devastating moments. The dialogue is expectedly fantastic and the score is also really well done.
Mockingjay – Part 2 is most certainly better than ‘Mockingjay – Part 1‘, but is so inferior to the original ‘Hunger Games‘ and of course ‘Catching Fire‘ remains the best and my personal favorite. But it is still such a good entry in the end and if it weren’t for the split and the overall inferiority of the last novel, this franchise would have been particularly strong, but is still very good and I am sad to see it go.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 has some structural problems due to still unfortunate book split, some character interactions weren’t as good and the first half has its problems, but this is still a very good film filled with many memorable scenes, good endings, sophisticated political discussions, wonderfully executed action sequences, excellent performances all around and it is overall a good conclusion to a great franchise.
My Rating – 4