By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men franchise, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) returns as the Girl on Fire for the last time in the final installment of the colossally successful Hunger Games film franchise, based on the series of best-selling books by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2. Not only is this the final Hunger Games movie, but this is also the final Hunger Games movie review on this blog, so does it surpass Catching Fire and Mockingjay: Part 1? Yes, and No.
I say that because both Mockingjay movies aren’t the strongest in the story department, as much as I loved the action from both Mockingjay movies, I still think Catching Fire has the best story. But that doesn’t mean the Mockingjay movies’ stories are weak, No, if anything, they’re probably the darkest and most complex out of the entire franchise.
It’s kind of like the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies, Part 1 is buildup, while Part 2 is the grand epic battle, good vs evil, life vs death. And that’s not bad at all, while 2-part finales for book adaptations do get old after a while, the excitement contained for the finale film makes it all the more satisfying.
Also, very much like the other Hunger Games films, Mockingjay: Part 2 balances action, suspense, drama, and character development well. It succeeds in being both an adaptation of the book and as an exciting movie for the movie-going audience.
Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson-Zathura) has been rescued from the Capital but they have affected him with Tracker Jacker venom, altered his memory and will eventually shift into a deadly killing machine against Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), the Girl on Fire who now became the Mockingjay, the chosen one to lead a rebellion against the Capital and the sinister, President Snow (Donald Sutherland-M.A.S.H., JFK, The Italian Job) who controlled the 13 Districts of Panem and managed the annual Hunger Games where children between ages 12 and 18 would battle to the death.
Teamed up with her friends, Gale (Liam Hemsworth-Knowing, The Last Song, The Expendables 2), Finnick (Sam Claflin-Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White & the Huntsman), Cressida (Natalie Dormer-Captain America: The First Avenger, Rush, Game of Thrones), and Peeta, as well as Effie (Elizabeth Banks-Spider-Man trilogy, The Lego Movie) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson-Zombieland, Defendor, The Messenger), Katniss goes on a mission with the District 13 unit, lead by President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore-The Kids Are All Right, Crazy Stupid Love, Carrie) as they do whatever it takes liberate, rescue the citizens of Panem and make everything right by staging the assassination of Snow.
But it won’t be easy because President Snow set booby traps all over the Capital, in hopes of destroying Katniss. So the Mockingjay will lead an army into the Capital and attempt to save the Districts of Panem from the cold ruling of Snow (Pun completely intentional).
Overall, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2 is an exciting final chapter in The Hunger Games saga. Even the franchise itself is self aware that the previous installments were just “Games”, now we have a gripping and suspenseful battle between District 13 and the Capital, and it delivered exactly what it promises.
Besides the action and battle scenes, the character development is very strong, much like the other installments, the film balances character and action well, despite the fact the movie is literally one giant climax, but then again Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 did the same thing. Jennifer Lawrence is just as engaging as Katniss as she was in previous films and she’s a character I gladly root for all the way through when watching a Hunger Games movie, when she’s in battle, you cheer and applaud for her, and when she’s sad or angry, you really feel what she’s going through, and I really appreciate Lawrence’s commitment to the role and not once do I feel she ever half-asses her character emotions, Take that Bella Swan!
Also I feel I need to address this, as much as I love the character development and the action, the part that stood out the most, believe it or not is the epilogue, no spoilers, but the entire final act got my attention completely, thus resulting in a very satisfying farewell to the victors of the 74th Hunger Games. Fans of the books and films should have a great time and hopefully they’ll get the final arrow shooting they were hoping for.
Well played Girl on Fire, well played.