The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Film Review

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The franchise is finally over. You would think my expectations would be high because I loved the books and the first two films, but I had such a ‘meh’ response about this because I felt like I had been waiting for it for TOO long. I was over it, and I think that wasn’t helped by a disappointing and unnecessary Part 1. BUT the good news is, this attitude paid off because it was surprisingly bloody brilliant and a worthy ending to the franchise.

Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss, the Mockingjay, and she leads the rebellion closer to the Capitol. She takes down District 2 with soldiers including Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Cressida (Natalie Dormer), while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is battling to get back to his old self from the mental torture he was subjected to by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). The fight moves onto the Capitol, where the team have to dodge booby traps to eventually get to Snow’s mansion so Katniss can kill him.

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Like the rest of the franchise, this is very loyal to the book, right down to the dialogue. I had re-read it recently so I could anticipate the next lines and beats of the film. I would be interested to see how the major deaths and shocks were received by people who haven’t read the book. I won’t give away who dies, but they are huge, and I was super shocked when I read it, but it didn’t have the same impact here. I was naively hoping they would be saved!

I still don’t think Mockingjay required two films, and I was so disappointed in Part 1 but the material simply wasn’t there. So at least all the good stuff is in the closer and there is plenty to keep the audience entertained. There is a lot of action and the best sequences include the underground chase from mutts (which was terrifying) and a booby trapped area filled with a black oily substance. It isn’t incessant action though – it is balanced very well with quieter moments, but I liked these as they mainly drove home the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale.

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There is a fantastic support cast too, but it is a shame we didn’t get to see more of Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks), my favourites, plus rebellion leaders Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman). They did a great job editing the material so only real footage of Hoffman was used (as far as I could tell) as he died during filming. The special effects, music and the general look were also fantastic.

It did feel pretty long so I can understand why some bits were cut out, including what I thought was a key moment in the overthrowing of District 2. Oh well. I do hate time jump epilogues so I wish they didn’t use it, but it’s in the book, and this is loyal so what else should I have expected? Lawrence was fantastic as always, Hemsworth’s acting never really blows me away, but at least he has more to do now. However, the real star for me was Hutcherson, who impressed me with his tortured soul/mental anguish issues.

I am very happy with this ending. I loved the first two films in the franchise so I’m glad they managed to bring it back from the slump of Part 1 for a dramatic and exciting finish.

In cinemas now 

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