The final chapter fulfills fan expectations. Mockingjay Part 2 features the 76th Hunger Games held in the Capitol. Traps, called pods, are scattered throughout the evacuated city. They release weapons designed to kill rebels in creative ways.
Jennifer Lawrence delivers a nuanced performance as she alternates between resolve and vulnerability. Josh Hutcherson is convincing as the brainwashed Peeta. Liam Hemsworth is still a cardboard, but he’s hired for his looks anyway. The rest of the supporting cast, a chunk of which are veterans, did well with what they’re given.
While Mockingjay Part 2 is able to tick everything in the YA box office checklist – romance, tragedy, well-produced action set pieces – the final installment clearly suffers from the Hollywood trend of maximizing every ounce of material until its essence dilutes into nothing.
Part 2 suffers from pacing problems. It starts with a slow self-summary, speeds up through the action scenes, and then winds down in between to insert repetitive drama.
As a result, the action scenes fail to build up around a determined Katniss, whose knight turned mass murderer shares a tepid competition with her workman husband turned mopey assassin. The characters who could have added color to a perpetually gloomy atmosphere were given little screen time, such as Johana who calls out her co-player’s tacky romance and chosen one life story in an amusing moment of self-awareness.
The franchise’s satirical spin on twisted entertainment and contemplative thoughts on branding is now replaced by war and political intrigue. Mockingjay commits to its portrayal of young deaths but their meaning is lost in a movie that has morphed into Game of Thrones sans the nudity and rape.
The film stayed mostly faithful to the ending. While the third act managed to pull a good surprise for non-book viewers, it looked tacked on in a movie adaptation that has no time for mourning losses.
Overall, fans will find what they want to see. However, those who were converted along the way will end up with a mediocre blockbuster.
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Mockingjay Part 2 is a dull grim ending that diminishes whatever depth its franchise managed to convey.