Movie Review - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
By Matthew Huntley
November 23, 2015
From here, the movie more or less settles into a series of standard action/special effects scenes followed by quieter moments of reflection as the rebels dodge one booby trap after another. The bulk of the runtime revolves around three major sequences like this, which makes Part 2 feel redundant as it trudges toward its climax and the screenplay finally answers the questions we've been asking since the first film: will Katniss get the chance to carry out her revenge and assassinate Snow; will she secure peace and freedom for all the citizens of Panem; and whom will she choose as her romantic partner, Peeta or Gale?
I'll not reveal any of these answers, of course, but as the movie plods along, we become less concerned about them because we realize, after a while, Part 2 probably won't generate any real surprises. The result is a film that satisfies us on a completionist level and only mildly on an emotional one, thanks especially to the genuine performances from Lawrence and Hutcherson, both of whom are so good and natural on-screen they'll likely avoid being typecast in future roles (Lawrence has already proven herself a versatile actress outside of a major franchise like this).
Ultimately, Part 2 simply didn't light a strong enough fire under me to recommend it. I appreciated its action, drama and production design (the filmmakers have spared no expense with regards to the special effects and creating an effectively bleak atmosphere), but narratively, it plays out like a standard denouement. Whereas the earlier films seemed more progressive, daring and interesting, Part 2 heads toward a foregone conclusion. The screenplay seems to introduce new conflicts for new conflict's sake and not because they play any real role in developing the story or characters, and it spreads these out over two hours and 17 minutes. Without anything terribly intriguing happening on-screen, I kept thinking the filmmakers should have added another act to Part 1 and scratched this installment altogether.
Still, these criticisms hardly make the final Hunger Games a bad movie, but it is, unfortunately, a rather uninspired one. Fans of the series, both the books and the films, won't be disappointed necessarily, just underwhelmed. I was hoping the finale would cap the series off in such a way we weren't expecting or haven't seen before, even if Collins' novel didn't, but that's probably one of the prices of bringing such a popular entity to the big screen. However, just like the characters in these movies disrupt the status quo, hopefully future filmmakers will do the same thing when it comes to adapting the next young adult series. I'm sure there will be plenty to choose from.