Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Director: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore

Release Date: 19th November 2015 (UK)

One of the most eagerly awaited movies of 2015 was the final chapter in The Hunger Games trilogy. Jennifer Lawrence has asserted herself as one of the world’s biggest box office draws as reluctant revolutionary Katniss Everdeen and here, in the fourth installment of the series, she makes a strong bow within an otherwise fine film.

After the revolution gains strength, and Peeta’s rescue takes a surprising turn, Katniss finds herself as the face and voice of a movement led ever more forcefully by President Coin, played by the remarkable and now Oscar winning Julianne Moore. As Coin’s motivations present themselves in more detail, Katniss must decide who, and for what, she is really fighting for.

It will come as no surprise that the Mockingjay and her band of victors find a way to storm the Capitol and wangle a confrontation with President Snow. The series would have been terribly disappointing had the narrative not reached this obvious climax, but at times it felt as though the story didn’t quite know what it wanted to be; at once a love triangle as Katniss’ fate is personified through her romantic tug of war between Peeta and Gale, but also an adventure movie about a fictional tyranny in the heat of civil war. That said, the two hours plus run time only started to drag at the very end where, like most film franchises, the ending was a teeny bit jagged and felt more like a tapering off than a big finale.

However, many of the flaws in narrative seemed due to last minute workarounds following the mid-filming passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. There were clear moments, crucial to the plot, that were substituted by other characters and there was a distinct lack of something that Hoffman would have brought to those scenes. Though under the circumstances, Francis Lawrence and team coped remarkably well and still delivered a story that was true to the original literature.

As the characters throw themselves into the centre of the Capitol, President Snow and his gamemakers have transformed the city into an arena, with traps at every turn. Some characters do not survive, and some characters may not be as well-intended as they seem. It’s a fine line for a story to deliver enough expectations to satisfy their fans but throw enough shocks in to make the journey feel worthwhile. On the whole, Mockingjay Part 2 delivered, with an ending that was maybe a little underwhelming to some but a few twists, albeit ones that were set up slowly enough to predict.

This was a fitting and poignant end to one of the highest grossing film franchises this century, though the door is left wide open for spin-offs, sequels and prequels. But hey, this is Hollywood.


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