MOVIE REVIEW: The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

by - November 19, 2015


My Rating: ★★★★☆

I got the opportunity to head to a screening of the new (and final) Hunger Games movie last night and I have a lot of feelings about it. I'm going to do my very best to avoid spoilers, but if you really don't want to be spoiled at all, I would say maybe just avoid any and all reviews of the movie until you've seen it. I would also like to let you guys know that I (someone who always seems to skip to the last page sometime while reading the middle of the book) didn't actually finish reading the trilogy because I didn't think I was going to like the ending so I went into both of the Mockingjay films without actually knowing what was going to happen. So all of that said... Keep reading to see my review!

Okay, I feel like the first thing that I should say is that despite the problems that I have with this movie, I did really enjoy it. I felt like it did a good job of maintaining the mood and spirit of the first three and bringing the series to a close in a way that (mostly) felt satisfying and gave closure to the world that it existed in.

As ever, the cinematography managed to give you both the sweeping feel of the revolution and the intimate feel of Katniss's personal journey at the appropriate moments. I feel like it really gave you the scope of the world that they were living in when it needed it, but managed to also focus on Katniss's journey so that even while you cared about the larger narrative, it was still the journey of the main character within that narrative that remained the focus.

One thing that I really, really enjoyed about this film was that it really took the focus away from the love triangle aspect of the whole thing. I wasn't watching this movie thinking "Who will Katniss end up with?" Not because I knew who she ended up with (which I did) but because Katniss really transcended the idea of the romantic heroine to the point where, to me, that really didn't matter at all. I didn't see her as a romantic partner, not even in the moments when the movie tried to make me. I always saw her as a warrior, battle damaged and just trying to move forward being true to what she felt was right. Honestly, there is no part of me that would have been disappointed if she had just walked off into the sunset leaving both of her suitors behind, because that would have been just as satisfying an ending for me. Katniss is a brilliantly written character that transcends stereotype, pigeonholes, and lowest common denominators and I think Jennifer Lawrence really played that to perfection every step of the way.

As well, I found that the performances of her co-leads as well as the secondary characters were incredibly well done for the most part. I was really impressed with Josh Hutcherson in this film and he really, for me, seemed to cement the fact that he was cast well - a fact that I hadn't really felt certain about when he was first cast. Watching Peeta outwardly struggle with the fallout of his time at the capital and the pain of trying to move forward, I felt attached to the character in a way I hadn't been until then and I was incredibly impressed by that. Honestly, I could make comments about almost all of the actors in this film and how they really captured the spirit that I felt were necessary for their roles, but let's just stick with some brevity for once and blanket that statement. Almost everyone was really, really good. (The exception is Prim. Prim was insanely bland.)

For me, there were two parts of the movie that really kept it from being a 5 star film for me. The first was the abruptness of the ending. I suspect that some of that abruptness was caused by the loss of Phillip Seymour Hoffman during filming that caused them to have to adjust some things, but I do still feel like they could have done a better job of it. It just felt to me like there was so much build up towards the ending and when they got there, it felt too quick and like it fell a little bit flat. For me, this really made it feel like the film lacked the impact that it needed to be a truly out-of-the-park successful finale.

The second problem that I had was the epilogue. I tend to generally dislike epilogues and this one sat really poorly with me. I feel like it ended the film on an unnecessary note that felt... just weird and forced, if we're being honest. I recognize that the book did have the epilogue and I understand why people would want it in there, but I feel like it was awkward. I wish the film version would have ended right before the epilogue, because I think it would have felt more poignant and emotionally significant that way without any need for any kind of ever after.

Now, all of that said, I do still feel like this was a good movie and generally a good ending to the story. I definitely did feel like it closed the franchise well, though not with the emotional crescendo that I was hoping for. I think fans of the book series will likely be happy with this ending and feel like the story was done justice.

I think, for me, this will be one of those franchises that I go back to and watch start to finish every few years - like Harry Potter, Anne Of Green Gables, and... Die Hard. (One of these things is not like the others....)

Thanks for reading! Are you going to be seeing Mockingjay Part 2 this weekend?

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