The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Review

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By Justin Jasso (@jasso007)

Every now and then, a series comes along that captures audiences around the world and has them anticipating, with bated breath, the release of the next film. Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean are two examples, each having its own cult followings and each, always, slated to make hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more, worldwide. And, like with Harry Potter, all things eventually come to an end, and so it must with the release of the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, the conclusion to the Hunger Games series.

We pick up where we left off with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) had been rescued and just attacked Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) after being brainwashed by the Capital. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) waits at the Capital while the rebels, led by self-proclaimed President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), ready a final assault. A small group is sent in, led by Katniss and including Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin), Peeta, and Cressida (Natalie Dormer), amongst others, in an attempt to get to the Capital and assassinate President Snow. But Snow will not go down without a fight, having his game makers booby trap the entire city, making it one final Hunger Game as the group makes its journey towards the President’s mansion. Will Katniss reach her target and kill the man who has brought so much pain and torment into her life or will she become another statistic in a sadistic war fought among Panem?

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is really a mixed bag of a film, a box of chocolates. You’ll love some parts and you’ll hate others. What is does well is blur that line between good and evil, right and wrong. No longer is Snow just the enemy, but Katniss is forced to look at her own people and their own political agendas, and how, should the Rebels be victorious, will the future play out across Panem with certain people in power. It also works, for the most part, as an action adventure through the city, although the small group faced far more obstacles in the book, which would have been fun to see. On the other hand, there are many elements which do not work here. Much of this is due to the writing. President Snow, who we all loved to hate, appears as a shell of his former self here, making us almost pity the man. The love triangle that existed between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale feels irrelevant in this final installment and the “twist” at the end will be seen coming early on, even by those who have not read the books. With such a huge film series, it’s sad this final installment becomes more of a vitamin, according to Finnick, the 76th Hunger Games.

Acting, in action films, generally isn’t quite as on point, or worthwhile (hello Transformers!), yet the Hunger Games has an award winning cast, full of Oscar winners and Oscar nominees. Lawrence is not nearly as compelling or charismatic (something Haymitch told her she has needed to be for three films now!). She appears to be shell shocked, walking around with this blank gaze, a flat affect, that rarely changes. She is now just a terminator with one goal: Kill. President. Snow. Josh Hutcherson deals with his brain washing and not really knowing what is truth or reality, intermittently wanting to Kill Katniss while other times wanting to kiss her. But the chemistry developed in the previous entries just isn’t there this time around, causing a huge distance between the characters. Liam Hemsworth, as Gale, has more screen time here than in any other film of the series, yet his character comes off flat. As for actors like Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Dormer, etc, they are all minimalists here, playing what part they must to move the story along. Love, and a moment of silence, must be given to the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, in his final on screen performance. May you forever Rest in Peace.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is a better film that its predecessor is most phases, but that wasn’t very hard to do. It will also be hugely profitable for the studio and production companies. Yet it will leave much to be desired by both fans of the films and fans of the book series. Taken as a whole, the series has been successful on many levels, and carried along the way by strong performances by the ever talented Jennifer Lawrence. With The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, the story is finally finished, all loose ends are tied up and there is a little epilogue showing how our characters fare in the future. Though the final film sputters along the way, one may say it’s not about how you finish the race, just as long as you finish.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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