The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 full movie review - A satisfactory end to the series.
The Hunger Games series first came to the silver screen in 2012 and since then, it has gone on to become a hugely successful franchise, turned Lawrence into the most sought out actress in Hollywood, and transgressed it's YA origins.
While Catching Fire built upon the success of the first film and proved to be a worthy sequel, Mockingjay Part 1 received mixed reviews by both fans and critics, with many believing the source material didn't require a two part film. Now, Mockingjay Part 2 brings the series to a climax and I'm pleased to say it's nowhere near as dull as it's predecessor, however, it fails to reach the heights of the franchise's earlier entries.
The film picks up exactly where Part 1 left off, with Katniss Everdeen recovering from Peeta's savage attack. Initially, the film seems to be following the same path as it's predecessor and it's slow burning opening does little to suggest that the source material of Mockingjay needed to be split up into two films. Once again, we're subjected to providing a subdued atmosphere within each scene as President Coin and former Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman) discuss ways in which they can storm the Capitol and take charge of Panem. From here, however, the film begins to move forward at an alarming pace, with questionable editing which see's the narrative jump forward in time to the Rebels march through the Capitol once District 2 has been taken over. It's a strange decision, considering the fact that later scenes feel like they're being drawn out in order to justify the film's two parts, and is the first hint that Mockingjay Part 2 is set to face pacing issues, just like Mockingjay Part 1. Following the film's slow start and weird editing, things start to move quickly and it's at this point that we're reminded how fun the series can be, albeit at a price.
From the moment Katniss and her team enter the Capitol the action begins to flow very freely, with characters meeting gruesome ends thanks to lethal 'Pods' which have been placed around the city. These Pods contain many different weapons which are all extremely dangerous and once they begin to make an appearance, they appear around every corner, taking the lives of Katniss' allies with them. Each set piece is quick and somewhat hard to follow as the film tries to keep it's 12A rating, yet while this provides a level of excitement Mockingjay Part 1 never did, it also makes the film hard to follow. There's no time to catch your breath as characters are dispatched left and right with little to no acknowledgement of their deaths before another trap is sprung. There is one scene, however, that puts the breaks on long enough to build tension and even create some genuine scares. While hiding in the tunnel, Katniss and her unit are chased by Mutts, genetically enhanced beings who bring to mind the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. It's a scene which will have you on the edge of your seat, anxiously watching as the characters tread lightly down each dark passage. Had the film's other set pieces provided tension like this, Mockingjay Part 2 may have been a much more satisfying and memorable finale.
As a result of the films fast, frantic pace, there are also missed opportunities to provide character development when concerning certain members of Katniss' unit. Although we've been introduced to these figures throughout the course of the series, their arcs are never fully realised now that we've reached our ending, particularly when it comes to Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Hemsworth has been given very little to do in the films and though he manages to get in on the action time and time again here, he's still fails to be anything more than eye candy. There's attempts at setting up tension between his character and Katniss in order to create further conflict for our heroine, but it's skimmed over and fails to ignite the supposed 'love triangle' that has always been on the sidelines of the series, never really going anywhere in particular. Despite this, Lawrence and Hutcherson are on fine form once again as Katniss and Peeta and there are some touching moments between the two young actors who have grown up as the series has progressed. Hutcherson in particular is fantastic as the tortured Peeta and his physical commitment to the role must be applauded as he struggles to keep in touch with reality following his terrible ordeal at the hands of snow. Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore also make a welcome return as the two Presidents caught up in a tactical battle that will see only one of them succeed. Sutherland once again portrays Snow as an icy figure (no pun intended) hellbent on succeeding, yet it's Moore who manages to make a larger impact on the narrative, despite her lack of screen time, which is a testament to her talents. President Coin and President Snow are both presented as cunning tacticians with many secrets, secrets which are revealed at the film's climax and provide closure to Katniss' story.
Though there may be some moments of magic to be seen on screen at certain points in the film, largely due to fantastic performances by the cast, there's never enough time to reflect upon them and take them all in. Despite this relentless pace, and willingness to skip important plot points, Mockingjay Part 2 is a satisfactory end to a immensely popular series which provides closure for fans and reminds us that the future can always be salvaged if we are able to learn from our mistakes.