To See or Not to See: Mockingjay – Part 2
The blockbuster Hunger Games franchise that made Jennifer Lawrence a household name comes to its epic final chapter with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. But are the odds in its favor?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is undoubtedly on everyone’s must-see films of 2015. I bought tickets back in October for the first showing on Thursday night. Here’s a helpful movie tip; many studios are pushing their releases a few hours earlier…now you don’t have to wait until midnight! I’ve found that diehard fans go to these earlier screenings. What does that mean? It’s less likely you’ll have to deal with moviegoers who disrupt the experience.
Overall, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is a satisfying conclusion to the series. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite in the franchise but it was definitely better than its previous installment. When it was announced that the final book was being split into two films, I questioned whether there would be enough content, and whether the quality would suffer the same fate as the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises. Did The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 serve its purpose for Lionsgate? Absolutely. Was I foolish for thinking it would be as good as its predecessors? Some would say so but I never expected Catching Fire to be as good as The Hunger Games.
Starting where Part 1 ended, the film’s opening scenes are gripping and packed full of drama, removing any bad taste left behind from Part 1. We find our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, more determined than ever to liberate the citizens of Panem (her moving speeches are back!). As the highly-anticipated showdown with President Snow draws closer, hidden agendas surface, threatening not only the survival of Katniss but also the future of Panem.
The film is led by many strong performances, which for me, the standout being Josh Hutcherson. His portrayal of Peeta’s internal struggle, after being brainwashed by the Capitol, demands attention and evokes a stream of emotions. I felt his pain. I rooted for him to return to the Peeta that kindly gave Katniss a loaf of bread in The Hunger Games. His inner turmoil also creates tension throughout the film as fans are left wondering if Peeta has truly recovered. His scene with Willow Shields (Prim) exemplifies how Hutcherson is able to shatter a moment of hope with effortless ease.
I felt like the film could have been thirty minutes shorter. There were points where it dragged and a few times where the film could have ended but did not. **Spoiler Alert** It ends where fans were hoping it would end. With that said, I was pretty happy with what was included and what was not (especially those awkward scenes of the camera panning to Gale after any intimate moment between Katniss and Peeta). Fans of book will find all the major moments included with the exception of the final scene with Plutarch (due to the unfortunate death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman).
If I could change anything about the film, I would have added more scenes for Jena Malone and Sam Claflin. I love the characters and the actors so I was disappointed there weren’t more scenes for either. My theater was cracking up at any scene with Johanna. She provided the comedic relief to a very dark themed film. Regarding Finnick, I felt like the previous films built him to be such an important character that it was shocking he wasn’t included more. Who doesn’t get chills from hearing him say “Welcome to the 76th Hunger Games”? **Spoiler Alert** I also felt that his final action scene prior to his death could have used a slow-mo sequence. There was so much going on, it was hard to keep track. Here’s hoping for some deleted scenes with Finnick and Johanna.
I would recommend seeing this film. Real or not real? Real.
★ ★ ★ ☆
Photo Credit: Murray Close / Lionsgate