The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

7 Overall Score
Performances : 8/10
Story : 7/10
Direction : 8/10

Good Performances, Satisfying Ending, Suspenseful/Dark

Somewhat Too Dreary, Breakneck Pace, Glosses Over Some Important Moments

Who would have guessed the impact that the Hunger Games franchise would have had when it premiered back in 2012? Not only did it quickly ascend to the top of Hollywood’s most profitable franchises, but also it inspired legions of copycats that kiss at their feet for basically establishing a genre. For the most part, I’ve found them satisfying and exciting experiences, especially the second installment Catching Fire. Now I found Mockingjay Part 1 fell a little flat, inert in forward storytelling and frustrating in it’s lack of action. But Mockingjay Part 2 certainly makes up for that lack of action with major set pieces, story revelations, and a dour tone that questions what you may consider a “happy ending”. The result is a mostly satisfying conclusion to the story of Katniss Everdeen, although to call the events of this film satisfying feels like a depressing double negative.

We pick up where Mockingjay Part 1 left off. Katniss (once again played by Jennifer Lawrence) is still recovering from Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) attempt on her life, as her bread boy lover is still under duress from the torture he endured at the hands of the Capitol. The war between the Capitol and the 13 Districts has taken its toll on the world of Panem, as thousands have died on both sides and those who are lucky enough to have survived are suffering. The resistance, led by President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) is ready to make their move on the Capitol, but President Snow (Donald Sutherland) isn’t ready to give up that easily, as he orders his “Gamemakers” and “Peacekeepers” to transform the city into one large Hunger Games esque booby trap. Danger lies around every corner, but Katniss is persistent to staying in the fight and ending this once and for all. After some resistance, President Coin allows Katniss to join the fight, but with a group with a fairly specific purpose; to be the face of the revolution

There’s a lot to juggle in a race to the finish such as this one, and for the most part Mockingjay Part 2 admirably balances the end of several major character arcs well. By the end of the journey, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and others end up in a place that makes sense for them, which is a testament to the work of the actors and the writing. Even though this is a young adult franchise, the writing is anything but sophomoric. Hutcherson in particular has come a long way since the first film in turns of his ability to emote and make us care about a fairly bland character

Like I mentioned before, Mockingjay part 2 is fun in the loosest of terms. Collins’ final novel was criticized for an almost comically depressing tone when it was first released, so I was surprised by how many of the big dark moments actually packed a punch. Still, I can see where the criticism comes from. There are times where director Francis Lawrence pushes the darkness too far, as Mockingjay’s muted color palette and themes of death, disease, and destruction just feel too hopeless. I’m not asking for rainbows and sunshine, but there has to be a small light at the end of the tunnel at least.

To be fair, by the end of everything we do get that light. Mockingjay Part 2 gives the characters a proper sendoff, while also delivering a multitude of thrills. There’s one sequence that almost feels ripped straight out of a nightmare, as Katniss & Co. fight off a legion of I Am Legend monsters in a Capitol sewer. The film isn’t perfect, and as far as wrap-ups go I’ve seen better, but I’ve also seen much worse. Mockingjay Part 2 retroactively also makes Part 1 better, though I would’ve liked to see them as one 3.5-hour film instead of two imperfect acts. Mockingjay Part 2 dims the flame of the “Girl on Fire” with enough tension, suspense and thrills to make up for any mistakes that are worthy of execution in an arena fight to the death.

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Author: Andrew Auger View all posts by
Andrew Auger is a student at Marist College and is majoring in Journalism. He is a huge fan of movies, and considers the late film critic Roger Ebert his idol. He hopes to one day be a prestigious film critic just like Mr. Ebert.

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