The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is the continuation of the climactic finale in the Hunger Games film franchise. Based on the books by Suzanne Collins, this enormously successful young-adult series tells the story of a struggling dystopian country called Panem, ripe with civil unrest and on the verge of complete civil war.
After years of being subjected to a deadly televised battle royale known as the Hunger Games, the impoverished citizens of the country’s 12 district begin to rise up against their oppressors in the rich and glamorous Capitol. This rebellion finds an iconic hero in Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a young winner of the Hunger Games who rejects the Capitol’s regime and defies authority. With total war emerging across all of Panem, the clock is ticking for Katniss and her compatriots to take down the Capitol and free their homeland.
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The Movie Review
Mockingjay – Part 2 takes no time reacquainting the audience with its world or characters, immediately throwing us back into the story where Part 1 left off. Safe with the rest of the resistance in the fabled District 13, Katniss recovers from a surprising attack by her longtime friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who was recently rescued from imprisonment in the Capitol.
Peeta has succumbed to the Capitol’s brutal routine of torture and brainwashing, becoming a shell of his former self. Worried that she could be doing more, Katniss propels herself to the frontlines of battle, disregarding the advice of resistance superiors President Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Quickly thereafter, Katniss endures yet another tragic attack, leaving her worse for wear. Refusing to let the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) win the war, Katniss packs up for a dangerous assassination mission beyond enemy lines.
One of the biggest weaknesses in the previous movie, Mockingjay – Part 1, was the lack of the series’ inventive and suspenseful Hunger Games tournament. Luckily, Mockingjay – Part 2 presents a much more grim and urban take on environmental death, as Katniss’s journey through the Capitol is packed with traps and enemies of all kinds.
From fully automatic sentries to mounted flamethrowers, Katniss and her team of loyal soldiers must make their way through a gauntlet of exciting encounters. While it’s far from a true Hunger Games competition, this final adventure through the war-torn streets of Panem feels like a proper culmination of the series’ overarching themes and plot-points. Unfortunately, that includes some of the more frustrating elements as well.
While Mockingjay – Part 2 excels with explosive action and suspense, it falls victim to many of the same problems seen in the previous films. The acting performances are commendable and at times impressive, especially from the core cast. However, the characters themselves are often wooden, underdeveloped, or at worst, uninteresting.
With a runtime of over 2 hours, there’s an equal amount of action and dialogue. While the moment-to-moment action is interesting, the plot itself is far too predictable. When characters die, you’ll see it coming from miles away.
The plot “twists” are painfully obvious, and the ending itself is wholly uninspired. The storytelling issues are compounded by the continuation of the awkward love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), which has been wasting screen-time since the very first movie.
The Bottom Line
Overall, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 might have some glaring problems, but it’s an enjoyable finale all the same. Where Part 1 felt sluggish and crowded, Part 2 puts a bigger emphasis on tense action and atmosphere. The story has a tendency to dip into unconvincing melodrama, but it’s nothing more egregious than any other PG-13 flick aimed at a teenage audience. What Mockingjay – Part 2 loses in its lackluster plot, it makes up for in some cool action sequences and unnerving scenes of suspense.
At times, it can even feel like a lightweight horror movie, which helps solidify the dire and bleak tone. While it might not be the perfect adaptation that book-loyalists were hoping for, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 should be satisfying enough for fans of the movies.
- Gritty and dark tone
- Impressive and emotional performances
- Light horror elements
- Predictable ending
- Throwaway romance subplots