Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

mockingjay prt 2 poster

The finale to the Hunger Games trilogy is, as has become the norm for huge franchises, the fourth film in this particular series of movies based on books. It picks up right after the end of Mockingjay Part 1, which lends the last two films to being watched back-to-back. This leads some to wonder, why not just release one film? It’ll work, there’ll be less bagginess. But money wins every time in Hollywood.

The film itself is serviceable, it does exactly what you expect it to, but it is based on the most difficult to visualise book in the series. It has been an interesting series; the first film is comparable to Battle Royale, the second and third are a bit more like Running Man or Rollerball. This fourth film is more like a Vietnam movie.

We’re back in the world of the downtrodden districts and the opulent Capitol that rules them. Only this time the districts are rallying together because of the actions of the Mockingjay, Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen, whose actions have proven that people power can overcome tyranny

This is the big showdown that Katniss has wanted with Donald Sutherland’s President Snow since the opening of the first movie. But she doesn’t get it all her own way, the president of the district housing her and the rebels, Coin (Julianne Moore) doesn’t want Katniss to be on the front lines as she doesn’t play by the rules. But Katniss stows away  to the Capitol anyway because she wants the pleasure of killing Snow herself.

What follows involves some urban warfare action scenes mixed with the terrifying traps of the Hunger Games, including flamethrowers, machine guns and a tidal wave of an oil-like water that kills anything it touches. There is one great scene in the sewers where a hoard of mutant lizard-people are hunting the rebels which is as tense as it could possibly get for a 12A certified film. In fact, it was a bit of a rip off of Alien, in that there are a team of people with flame-throwing weapons being hunted by a monster through claustrophobic corridors.

The big emotional surprise in the book is almost glossed over, but then, maybe that’s because I knew it was coming. It just didn’t have the impact it did on the page.

The end of the film suffered from Lord of the Rings syndrome in that it had about three endings, luckily it didn’t drag on for half an hour but the final scene was syrupy sweet and felt at odds with the tone of the entire series, especially as I’m pretty sure the book didn’t end that way. It left a slightly bitter taste at the end of this set of films that has, until the last couple of minutes been so strong.

The film itself, as stated at the beginning of this review, is fine. It does what it needed to do in a way that made sense of the strangest book of the series. The feeling of mistrust of everyone was realised effectively, everyone did a fine job of acting and there were some really effective scenes. It just sagged in a few places, where it could have done with steam-rolling on. And there wasn’t enough Stanley Tucci.

The tragic death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman was noticeable from the last part of the film, especially as he is replaced by a letter in what would have been his last scene, though it was poignant. Perhaps so much so that it pulls you out of what’s happening on-screen… just as it did to see him in his first scene right at the beginning of the movie.

Had it ended five minutes before it did, it would have been fine. As it is, being shorter – possibly even parts 1 and 2 could have been one film – and more consistent would have made it better, but it feels like it would still have been an anti-climax.


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