Picking up immediately where The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 left off, the very highly-anticipated finale to one of the most successful young adult book-to-film adaptations, Mockingjay – Part 2 wraps up the franchise in a film that’s very loyal to its source material, even if it suffers from the decision of splitting the movie into two parts.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is back in the midst of all the chaos surrounding Panem, with her serving as the face of the revolution putting her in the middle of it all. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is safely back in District 13, but the fallout of his being programmed by the Capitol to see Katniss as a threat is still very much real. He can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t, and it makes for some intense moments when he’s torn between believing he and Katniss are on the same team and killing her (which almost happens a few times).
Boggs (Mahershala Ali) and his team–Lieutenant Jackson (Michelle Forbes), Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who is now devising war plans with District 13’s best, Finnick (Sam Claflin), Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Pollux the Avox (Daredevil’s Elden Henson), and his brother Castor (Wes Chatham)–are sent to the Capitol on a mission from President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), but Katniss has made her own secret plans to kill President Snow (Donald Sutherland) once and for all, in hopes to finally end the war.
Mockingjay – Part 2 is loyal to the final book by Suzanne Collins, however, it does suffer from the fact that the movie was split into two parts. A three hour epic movie finale would have served the final two films and kept up the intensity and tension-building that Part 1 did so well. The first 20 minutes or so go by pretty slowly and there are moments when exposition could have been replaced with better character relationship building. This is especially true in the case of Johanna (Jena Malone) and Katniss’s friendship, which deepens in the third book. They only have a few small scenes together in the film and it doesn’t add very much to it, either.
Every character from the previous films make cameos here, even the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose presence as Plutrach Heavensbee is far more condensed and not as relevant for obvious reasons. Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinkett and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch don’t have a whole lot to do, but their presence is always welcome. There is character development, but there could have been more of it.
Having said this, Mockingjay – Part 2 serves as a decent film, but isn’t necessarily the grand finale that fans are hoping for. It hits some right notes and it is an entertaining watch, but the intensity is lacking in a franchise that is built on intensity. It’s nice that they do actually show the aftermath directly after the final showdown, but the film as a whole is a bit anticlimactic. Not the best film in The Hunger Games series, but it is generally enjoyable and book fans will at least appreciate the fact that it remains faithful to the book. Perhaps watching it back-to-back with Part 1 will make it flow better.