Everything I expected it to be …
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is the fourth and final (probably) installment in what has been the most successful of all the young adult book to screen adaptations. Francis Lawrence is at the helm again and the regular cast of Capitol outlaws led by Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is uniting the 12 Districts to overthrow President Snow (Donald Sutherland). The film picks up in the hours or days following Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) attack on Katniss which left her in a neck brace.
There is a growing tension between Katniss and President Coin (Julianne Moore) who wants to keep her out of harms way while she is more determined than ever to get to Snow. If the rebels are to win the day they have to overcome the traps set in the Capitol in what Finnick (Sam Claflin) dubs the 76th Hunger Games.
The movie continues with its exploration of the importance of propaganda during times of war but does develop in other ways, primarily the dehumanising effects of war and the question of is there ever really a winner? The film also looks at the corrupting influence of power and its ability to convince people they are acting in the best interests of everyone when clearly they are not.
I stated a fear before the release of the Mockingjay films that we would be left with a watered down finale and I think my expectations have sadly been realised. Mockinjay – Part 1 was an interesting film that has improved in my eyes after rewatching it on DVD but it didn’t blow the doors of the building and I thing the final film is the weakest of the bunch. It has a strong opening yet much like Spectre (2015) it drops off as there are a few too many scenes of people talking in near darkness while doing nothing to push the plot along. For the first time I thought the filmmakers were filling for time.
This is unfortunate as there are some really good set pieces headlined by the battle in the sewers with the “Mutts”. Lawrence carries the film as well as ever although for the first time she is outshone by Hutcherson who gives his best performance to date as the psychologically damaged Peeta who battles his way back to some kind of normality. While I don’t normally encourage end credit scenes this film could have done with a couple. The movie is painfully faithful to the book and I would have had a mid credit scene back in District 12 and an end-end credit scene showing the near future. If/when you’ve seen the film I hope this makes more sense. I believe this would have delivered a more dramatic ending.
I think the underlying Mockingjay story would have made for an epic 2 and a half hour finale taking the best bits from both films. Instead of this we have an interesting first film and a so-so second film that (say this quietly just in case a rabid fan hears me) was a little boring in parts. I’m going to give this movie a positive rating as I have enjoyed the journey with these characters but I won’t be going back to the cinema for a second viewing. My rating 3/5.