By: Andrew Haas
I have not read any of the original Hunger Games books, so I’ve been going into these movies with a fresh perspective. I thought the first film was okay and the second film an overall great flick. But when they decided to split the final book into two films, I was not very enthusiastic as I felt this trend has never worked narrative wise. When I saw Mockingjay Part 1 last year, I thought it was good, if not a bit padded out. And now that the final film has come out, I think the same thing as Part 1.
The story picks right up from Part 1 as Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, finds that the capital has messed with the mind of Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson. Now Katniss goes out to the capital on her own, joined by a few allies, to finally bring down the reign of President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland. Little does the team know that he has a few surprises waiting for them.
Though the film isn’t perfect, it has a lot going for it. First of all, Jennifer Lawrence gives a great performance as Katniss. Though I’m wondering if it’s just the actress’ persona that makes us like the character. Some of the obstacles Katniss’ team faces do manage to be intense, even if there are one or two that feel ripped from other movies. Peeta has a much more interesting character arc this time around. Seeing him struggle with control over his mind while remembering his past is much more engaging than any of the romance from the previous films. While I don’t want to give away the final act, I will say that I was impressed with what they did. I thought there were a few areas in the end that didn’t make sense, but overall I was pleasantly surprised with the direction it took.
With that said, Mockingjay did not need to be two movies, and the pacing shows. There were multiple occasions where the film dragged and had me looking at my watch. Even with scenes I thought were very well-handled, I felt there were many points where they should’ve cut to something else, but didn’t. Also, I was questioning a few of the team’s decisions like bringing Peeta along. They give him a pass a few too many times to the point where I just wanted to tell Katniss to shoot him already.
Even though being split up is almost the downfall of the final installment, Mockingjay Part 2 was still a satisfying conclusion to the series. It has good performances, some intense set pieces, and an intriguing end. I’d say this series has had a good run, which is more than I can say for other dystopian Young Adult book series adaptations (it should be its own genre at this point).