The Hunger Games is a series of great films, if you’re a fan. From what I’ve heard, the films have put forward a fairly solid effort in terms of staying true to the books, and I’ve even talked to some people who think some of the films have improved upon their source material in various ways. As a non-fan, I’d say my opinions on the films have ranged from “decent” (Catching Fire) to “forgettable”( Mockingjay: Part 1) to “just plain bad” (The Hunger Games) Despite my lack of knowledge of the books and my minimal interest in the series as a whole, I was curious about how the final instalment, Mockingjay: Part 2, was going to wrap itself up, especially since the only thing I knew about the way the book ended was that it was incredibly controversial amongst fans and readers alike. One thing I was wary of however, was if splitting the final chapter into two films was necessary.
I don’t remember much from Mockingjay: Part 1, but I remember the majority of that film being buildup for the big finale that would unfold in Part 2. The film had some nice moments, but overall it was a pretty disappointing followup to Catching Fire, (which was a film that I surprisingly enjoyed and is by far my favourite of the series) Mockingjay: Part 2 is definitely an improvement over Part 1, but I can’t help but feel that it would’ve been a more satisfying finale if the two films were trimmed down and combined into one long film. But of course, that wouldn’t’ve made Lionsgate studios double the money, so I guess focusing on making one good film is just a silly idea. Huh….I’m being a little harsh. And who am I to talk? After all, I personally enjoyed the Hobbit trilogy, and that was quite possibly the biggest offender of the “unnecessarily stretching one book out to multiple films” club, so I won’t harp anymore on the decision to split the last book into two movies. Having said all that, Mockingjay part 2 works well as a climax. Once the film kicks into high gear, it rarely slows down and leaves you on the edge of your seat during it’s effective action set pieces. I personally liked the battle in the sewers the most. I’m a sucker for cool monsters, and the creatures present in this fight scene were thankfully a vast improvement over those horrible CGI monster-dogs from the first film and the so-so looking baboons from the second film.
The acting in the film is also quite good, with Jennifer Lawrence and Donald Sutherland pulling off compelling conflict between Katniss and President Snow. I would’ve liked to see the two share a bit more screen time together, but what we got is fine. The tired love triangle thankfully doesn’t play as big a role in this movie, and almost feels like an afterthought here, since the focus is rightfully on Katniss leading her resistance against the Capital. Nearly every character you’ve met over the course of the series makes an appearance in this film, so if you’re a fan, this will definitely feel like a good farewell to the film franchise. (Although The Studio is apparently developing a series of prequel films….are you the least bit surprised?) The actual ending of the film feels a tad rushed. Perhaps that’s how it was in the book too, but after four films I expected the film to take a little more time with it’s actual ending. One could argue that the entire film is one big climax, And while that is a fair argument, It’s not what exactly what I’m referring to. I’m talking about the actual resolution. It’s shockingly quick, and left me feeling a little less satisfied then I wanted to feel, but again, that may’ve been the intent of the novel’s ending.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is going to thrill longtime fans but probably won’t win over naysayers.The film is certainly well made, and I can’t fault the acting or the editing, but I just never fell in love with these characters or the story the same way many other people did. (Also, where was that amazing Red Suit that Katniss was wearing in all the promotional material for this film!? That was an incredible costume, and I was let down that it wasn’t in the actual film…) Out of all the movies, Catching Fire is still my favourite, and the only one I can see myself revising from time to time. Overall ,The Hunger Games franchise wasn’t the worst thing ever, but it wasn’t for me. Fans will be happy however, and that’s the audience that will truly appreciate these films when all is said and done.