And just like that, The Hunger Games film franchise comes to a close. The final installment, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, brought the journey of Katniss Everdeen to a resounding finish.
When we last left the Mockingjay, played by Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, she nearly had the life choked out of her courtesy of President Snow’s new weapon, her ally and closest friend Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson. Although Katniss is the face of the rebellion, she is determined to bring this war to an end and resolute in one objective: killing President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland.
The tyrannical Snow won’t make it easy for Katniss. He’s held up in his mansion and with the help of sadistic military strategists and gamemakers he’s turned the Capitol into an elaborate deathtrap with pods and booby traps at every corner of the city.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 presents the opportunity to say goodbye to these characters as the story reaches its end, in a particularly steady and respectable approach. As a fan of The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay being my personal favorite of the three books, I quite liked how they ended the franchise with this film.
When I read Mockingjay a few years ago, halfway through I reached the moment where I could barely recognize the characters anymore; Katniss evolved from the brave young woman who volunteered to take her sister’s place at the Reaping to this warrior who was hellbent to stop Snow no matter the cost, Peeta went from this lovestruck baker’s boy to this mentally tortured timebomb that could go off at any time, Gale became consumed by the war and conceived immoral ideas to stick it to the Capitol and Mockingjay Part 2 stayed true to that characteristic of the book. I truly respected that.
Essentially, I all did while watching Mockingjay Part 2 is just sit back and let it wash over me. While I wasn’t exactly thrilled, I was satisfied with what the film ultimately became.
My review of the previous Hunger Games movie, glowed because I felt that Francis Lawrence and Simon Beaufoy finally captured the right look and tone for The Hunger Games and while this movie didn’t exactly up the ante, this movie stayed consistent with that tone and what made the franchise special by sticking to the core compelling moments of the Mockingjay story.
I won’t say I was disappointed because this movie couldn’t really set itself up for disappointment in light of the fact that at this point, we’ve become accustomed to who these figures are, what they’re doing where they came from, what’s going to happen, I can’t say I was disappointed.
Maybe what I’m trying to say is that I was underwhelmed. I knew, or at least had a general understanding of what was coming regarding Danny Strong and Peter Craig’s screenplay, I knew what this cast brought to these roles, I knew that Francis Lawrence was up to the job to bring this home, and there was really no surprise in this for me. The saving grace is that I found enough of the feature to be enjoyable.
Lawrence, Sutherland, Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Willow Shields, Natalie Dormer, Mahershala Ali, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Gwendoline Christie, the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the entire cast can bid adieu to these characters whose depth is a testament to the literary brilliance of Suzanne Collins.
At this point, it is probably unnecessary to evaluate the performances because these actors have had years of experience with these roles and they don’t exactly go outside the box with what they are given. There is nothing particularly different about the acting; everything comes off as familiar enough to know what you are getting into.
In terms of technical acuity, I render that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is quite standard in the sense that nothing really jumps out at you. The visual effects, James Newton Howard’s score, Jo Williams’ cinematography, Alan Edward Bell and Mark Yoshikawa’s editing, the sound effects, Kurt and Bart’s costumes, Philip Messina’s production design, I don’t believe anything in particular truly grabbed my eye and lingered. Perhaps I was so wrapped up in the overarching resolution of the franchise I may have taken the technical makeup of the film for granted.
My verdict for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is that it is a practically safe but solid cinematic outing and it does enough to send Katniss Everdeen and The Hunger Games out on enough of a high-note. My ruling on The Hunger Games franchise is that it was a strong franchise that did enough justice to its literary counterpart.
So, here we are. The post-mortem Hunger Games world. May the odds be ever in our favor.