The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 rounds off this quadrilogy of films and carries on from the previous instalment. The rebellion is well underway, Katniss is the propaganda princess and bit by bit they are taking, well, attacking the ‘Peacekeepers’ in all of the districts in reverse order leading up to the Capitol. The plot follows Katniss and her journey to assassinate President Snow.
There’s a lot of things right with this film and is worthy of a watch. The decrepit scenery and aftermath of the districts that have been through a war are thorough in their depiction. It’s not dark and dreary but what were thriving districts in the first film are now the charred skin and bones of what was.
Josh Hutchinson is the standout performer in this movie and shows a turn and range we haven’t really seen until now. He goes from shattered broken shell of a man and embarks on a journey to try and piece his mind back together after the extensive torture he went through, all while dealing with the constant mistrust of those around him. It was good to see the film give his arc the necessary time to develop and Hutchinson’s genuine nature of the character really shone through. Liam Hemsworth also gets a nod for his role in the love triangle and the friction that is caused from his development as a character as a result of war.
The action was executed well. The film kept the creativity rising and the set pieces fresh. It was good to see the movie vary the build up of the more impactful scenes, it wasn’t all loud explosions and chasing, there was a particular portion of the movie in the tunnels where the silence and dark/movement of shadows was used well to build tension. Respectably, they stayed about as faithful to the book with who they killed off as they could, although this faithfulness would have the opposite impact later on.
While the movie moves along at a brisk pace it is a bit of a slog at just over 2 hours and 10 minutes and this could have been cut down with how they dealt with the ending.
Now I would never say a bad word about the Lord of the Rings franchise (NEVER!) but Mockingjay Pt.2 definitely suffers from Return of the King-itus. There must be a good 15 minutes at the end where the film could have finished on at least 3 occasions. I understand the need for there to be an element of faithfulness to the book but after a certain scene in the Capitol the rest of the scenes we learn nothing new, the characters go through nothing of any significance, it’s just pointless and dragged out the film longer than it needed to be and thus making the end underwhelming.
These negative don’t undo the good things that built this film up but a flaw that has been ever present (even from the first film) is that Katniss Everdeen as a character is just uninteresting. This is no slight on Jennifer Lawrence as she has proven in The Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle that she has acting chops, but when the main character of a franchise is as boring as this one it does have an effect.
At the core of almost any film there needs protagonist you can relate to in some way shape or form and look at someone who is convincingly bringing that character to life. Where The Hunger Games in general has a problem is Katniss doesn’t really develop as a character. She gets thrown into a situation, reacts, then thrown into another situation, reacts the same way again. I can understand the attempt to convey her hopelessness by trying to do the same thing again and again but always getting the same result (Einstein defines insanity as exactly this) but right to the end Katniss shows the same reactions to all situations. There’s no emotional progress or visible change given the persistent trauma that is going on. It’s a good job the franchise doesn’t rely on Katniss to solely drive it forward as her character lacks the charisma and the chemistry with those around her to make her an interesting person to watch.
A film that looks good but ultimately lacks the emotional punch you would expect from the climax of a franchise. The support cast outshine the star in this overly long movie with a very basic plot. Probably about as good an end as could be expected going on previous installmesnts.