The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, is a completely satisfying end to the Hunger Games movie franchise, and a terrific action movie on its own two wings.
We start out with Katniss Everdeen, a.k.a The Mockingjay ( Jennifer Lawrence), in a hospital with a brace being removed from her neck. Her throat is severely bruised, and she can barely speak, but she keeps going. At her side is Plutarch ( Phillip Seymour Hoffman), political adviser and former Gamemaker. Played as a unique combination of Karl Rove and Ken O'Donnell, Plutarch is mover, shaker, power broker, and favorite uncle rolled into one. Katniss, convalescing after an attack by her closest and dearest friend/love interest Peeta ( Josh Hutcherson), soon recovers and heads to the front to fight with the Rebels and take a stand against President Snow (played by Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol.
On the flight to District 2, an awkward, half-hearted attempt to engage romantically with Katniss' former hunting buddy and other love interest Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) leaves both saddened. A combat plan is soon conceived for the Capitol by Beetee (played by Jeffrey Wright) and Gale, that Katniss halfway overhears that leaves her somewhat disturbed.
Meanwhile, on the front she sees those around her change their morals , including Gale, to match the circumstances of war. A plan is concocted that takes the wind out of the sails of the Capitol's defense network and puts The Mockingjay into a position to bring the rebels and the loyalists of District 2 together. Taken hostage, Katniss relates her worn spirit, her exhaustion, and her need for release to her captor, who lets her go. After an attack on her person, the Mockingjay is taken back to base for recovery. After a verbally and emotionally brutal encounter with Peeta, Katniss resolves to put down President Snow, and sneaks out to the front lines to fulfill her chosen mission. After arriving on the front lines and meeting her infiltration/propaganda team, Katniss starts to realize she's in over her head. Peta soon arrives, still very much brainwashed by the Capitol. Restrained due to his potential to kill the Mockingjay and hurt the mission, Peeta becomes the team's liability. After speaking with her squad leader, Boggs ( Mahershala Ali), Katniss learns that not only is Snow against her, but President Coin (Julianne Moore) is as well. Evading traps created by Hunger Games Gamemakers, and losing members of their teams to the psionic hunter-killers called mutts, the team finally finds a way to the Presidential mansion to find and put down President Snow.
From there, manipulation after manipulation occurs until finally the Mockingjay learns the truth of those who claim to have her back, and makes the hard choice to save her country at the cost of self.
This movie, being the second part of the book, picks up the pace of the action tremendously and we get to see Katniss back on top of the archery combat game. Indeed, with what she's allowed to do in this movie, Ms. Everdeen would give Oliver Queen a run for his money. Also, the military and war action in this movie is shown not only in spectacular fashion but with real consequences for the good guys as well as the bad.
Speaking of bad, Donald Sutherland's President Snow has become one of my favorite movie villains. Suave, charming, and politely sinister, Snow knows who he is, and revels in it. On the opposite side of the coin, as it were, is the self appointed President Coin. Quiet, reserved, and darkly kind to those who follow her, President Coin shows more and more of her true nature as she becomes more victorious.
My only critique of this film is its need to sometimes verbally remind us that it's a political movie as well as a dystopian sci-fi flick. The action and set up of the story makes you think that it would be sufficient to convey that message, but lines peppered throughout the film seem to continue to push that idea into the craniums of the viewers.
Overall, this film is a highly satisfying wrap up for the franchise and it's fans, from the intense start to the beautiful, hopeful finish. May the popcorn be ever in your favor!
Check out the trailer below and be sure to catch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 in theaters now!