"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
The Hunger Games franchise has taken the world by storm, bringing in millions of dollars in the box office and attracting fans of all ages. The first two films set up the series wonderfully, making the characters and actors and actresses household names around the world. However, when they delivered the first part of the finale of the franchise, it was a major step-down from what they had worked so hard to set up in the first two films. If the first part was a step-down, then "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" is a disappointing conclusion to the entire franchise, perhaps being the worst entry in the series.
The first film practically told the first half of the final novel by Suzanne Collins, with this film coming in to conclude what she had created. The studios and filmmakers tried to profit off the success of the films by splitting the last book into two parts, just like "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" had done. In terms of the two series mentioned, I can see how the finale would be split into two; the books are gigantic and full of so much information and plot events. Yet, when we look at the last book of Collins' series, there is perhaps more material in the first two than there was in this book. This could have easily been just one film, but with the decision to split it into two feature-length films, they make the audience suffer through the boring parts that drag quite a bit in both films.
Yet here, this movie drags more than anything. I mean, there are so many action sequences and more exciting events that transpire in this movie compared to the last, but it is truthfully hard for the viewer to care or feel excited about what is happening. Consider the scene where the heroes activate a "pod" (a sort of trap set by the Capitol to try and destroy whoever is marching on the Capitol) that unleashes devilish beasts onto whoever comes across it. The scene in the book is exciting and depressing as a major character does perish, but in the film, it is very lackluster. This is how many of the action sequences transpire throughout the movie, and it leaves the viewer feeling very disappointed and defeated.
This film picks up practically the exact second the previous one leaves off, with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) being rescued, but has been programmed to believe his lover, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), is his ultimate enemy. He believes she is the reason that District 12 has been blown to smithereens and his family caught in the blast. Now, I understand this is what transpired in the book, but I hate how this is the last time we see these two characters. If Collins wanted to make it where Peeta hates Katniss for a whole storyline, she should have done it earlier, not when the saga is wrapping up. Because of this, the film perishes in a way, as none of the outcomes really pay off for the viewer or the characters. When looking at how this ends, everything feels very rushed and confusing, when the filmmakers could have easily changed many of the story elements to make it much more satisfying at the end.
Now that Katniss is tasked with a crew that is made up of District 13's strongest soldiers, they are marching on the Capitol, hoping to get there in time to bring down President Snow (Donald Sutherland), and end this rule of tyranny once and for all. However, when certain things transpire that make Katniss wonder who is the real bad guy here, she must make sacrifices and decisions that will determine the future of Panem forever. This alone sounds much more exciting and engaging than anything that Part 1 did, so tell me why the filmmakers weren't able to make the film seem more exciting.
I don't think the actors are to blame here at all; in fact, I think the performances in these films have been solid and steady in every installment. Lawrence is perhaps the best fit the studio and filmmakers could have gotten to play Katniss, and Hutcherson just shows how he is a talented actor. Many have deemed these films as being teenage fluff, but I truly think these films show what these actors are capable of and easily lead the franchise. This can also be said for the performances from the minor characters, including Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Liam Hemsworth, and much more.
Like I mentioned in my review for "Mockingjay - Part 1", it seems like both filmmakers and authors are not sure how to finish off their beloved series, and this film easily just proves my point. I'm not sure what direction they were trying to go for, but there is truly no heart or soul behind this film. It's very disappointing as it was set up so well and the first two films are great, just for it to perish at the end. I guess the odds were never in the filmmakers' favors for these past two installments.