The final installment in the Hunger Games series sees Hunger Games victor Katniss Everdeen and her fellow Rebels from District 13 enter the Capitol with the hope of assassinating the tyrannical President Snow and put an end to his reign of terror upon the districts.
Based on the second half of the final Hunger Games book, Mockingjay Part 2 picks up right after the events of Mockingjay Part 1, we begin with Katniss facing the terrible truth that her true love Peeta may not be the man she fell in love with anymore due to being tortured by the Capitol. The relationship that we've seen through from the beginning of the series faces its toughest trial yet as Peeta unwillingly makes attempts to murder Katniss, but he along with Gale and other soldiers are making their way through the Capitol shooting Propaganda footage for their cause, whilst the rest of District 13 go off to war with the Capitol.
Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen for the final time and as usual, gives a really good performance, but I couldn't help but think how unlikable Katniss has become as a character. By the end of the film Katniss just stands around a lot whilst characters monologue at her, she never seems to make decisions herself, even when it comes to which boy she's going to stay with; Peeta or Gale. On the topic of the film's romance, it focuses too heavily on it, the last two films cleverly downplayed the romance angle because of the lack of chemistry between Lawrence and Hutcherson and Lawrence and Hemsworth and the fact that there are bigger things at stake here than who Katniss is going to end up with. The drama of this love triangle is dialed all the way up and it feels pretty unnatural.
I'm one of those fans who very much liked Mockingjay Part 1, sure it was a step down from the quite terrific Catching Fire but it's languid pace gave more time for characters, it focused on Katniss after she'd survived two Hunger Games and how she's transforming into the face of a rebellion. But with Mockingjay Part 2, I'm left questioning why this final book was split into two films for any reason other than more Box Office. Events of both of these films could have easily fit into one feature, especially when you realize that Mockingjay is actually the smallest book in the series.
Mockingjay Part 2 features some absolutely terrific moments, the standout scene being set in a dark, damp sewer where our heroes are hunted by "Mutts" which felt like a great reference to James Cameron's Aliens really got me excited, but there simply aren't enough of these great moments. A lot of Mockingjay Part 2 is quite dower, some huge things happen yet nothing makes the impact it should and the entire thing really lacks an emotional punch. Characters die in this film, major characters, yet none of their deaths are given enough time to resonate with the audience, all of them feel like checkpoints towards the finale instead of a genuine emotional moment.
This final film promises the big climactic showdown between Katniss and the evil President Snow and even their scenes together don't feel big enough even with such world class talents as Jennifer Lawrence and Donald Sutherland in the roles. I was left feeling unsatisfied with how the story and their battle came to a close. The last film teased us of a big war to come, but when the time comes for District 13 to storm the Capitol, we see little to none of the action, instead we're way in the back with Katniss and her squadron who are making their way through the Capitol after the battle has taken place.
Many of us rightfully presumed Mockingjay Part 2 would be an extended third act in the Mockingjay story, focusing on action and a great payoff to the story but it's actually more of the same from Mockingjay Part 1, a lot of characters talking and moping, especially Katniss, who can't seem to make a decision whatsoever on what she's doing. Other than the standout sewer scene and a few other good moments this is a slow, glumly paced final film.
I won't spoil the events in the film for those yet to see it but what I will say is the events that transpire are quite anticlimactic, and I guess that's the point of Mockingjay. It doesn't end quite the way you think it would, you're not quite sure who the good guys are by the final act of the film and neither is our lead character, it's all very ambivalent when it comes to the topic of revolution. Some huge things come to light towards the end of the story but none of them have the dramatic weight they should. The film spends more time focusing on who Katniss is going to fall in love with rather than the huge political decisions that are being made around her.
Our characters are working their way through a minefield of traps in the Capitol, but instead of a tense run through these dangerous city blocks, are characters seem to encounter one "pod" and rest for a few hours, and then repeat. These scenes should all have had the tension and energy of the sewer sequence but instead the characters are mostly just plodding through these scenes towards the finale.
I consider myself a fan of this series, I really did enjoy the previous two films, so it's unfortunate that this final film has me saying The Hunger Games franchise fails to end on a bang and instead ends on a whimper.
What did you think of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97