The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 continues Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) journey towards a takeover of Panem. At first, she was unsure of her role in the Panem war, but her traumatic experiences in The Hunger Games and the great losses she’s experienced since then appear to have strengthened her resolve. After recovering from a nearly fatal encounter with Peeta, Katniss sees red and decides that she must sneak into enemy territory to assassinate the crap out of President Snow.
Firstly, I must shout out Jennifer Lawrence and her incredible ability to breathe life into a character that inhabits a franchise I have long since given up on. I’m not even a big fan of J-Law, but she commits to Katniss, giving her a depth on screen that shows more visually than it does on script. Her dialogue isn’t impressive, but it’s the delivery and execution that keep me watching. It reminds me of the movie Tropic Thunder, when Kirk Lazarus (played by the masterful Robert Downey Jr.) upstages Ben Stiller’s character, Tugg Speedman, by unnecessarily crying on cue. Speedman’s agent advises him to, “Cry Harder!,” if Lazarus tries it again. And in Mockingjay Part 2, J-Law definitely cries harder, and it’s impressive. She sells this character and sells her hard. I was bored for much of this movie, but I reluctantly bought it – the whole package – mainly because of J-Law’s acting.
Also, I’d like to mention how The Hungers Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was, by far, the weakest film of the franchise. It was all yap yap-yap yap, and much less a Kidz Bop Running Man (and even more less a Battle Royale). The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is much better, in terms of action. The action scenes were pretty good, and there were some chase scenes also that made me rub my eyes and get off my seat. However, the on-screen violence wasn’t as bloody as Catching Fire, but they were impressive as a testament to the horrors of modern warfare. There must’ve been a message there too, but it currently escapes me (and that’s a political discussion outside of this review).
Despite the improvements, I’d have to say that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 still put me in metaphorical sleeper hold. The action scenes were good, yes, but it’s between those set pieces that this movie suffers. Nothing about this film is really interesting. Like Mockingjay Part 1, this film felt stretched out and entirely unnecessary. Many franchises are now doing this, splitting a finale into two parts at the cost of sacrificing a good story. One could say that, in the case of The Hobbit, which was split into three movies, things seemed to have worked out. That’s true. But The Hobbit has a world I would love to be in – like, for real.
At this point in the story, the world of the The Hunger Games isn’t a fascinating one. It’s a dystopian future where young people are sacrificed for the amusement of the rich and the suppression of the enslaved. What part about that sounds worth visiting? I’m here for Katniss and her story, and her story was practically over after Catching Fire. I didn’t read the books, but I know a good story when I see it. This wasn’t it.
If I were a fan of this series, I’d probably had been let down by the third film, and more than likely, would have skipped Part 2 – which is what I’m suggesting viewers do in this case. The movie is well-made, it has Jennifer Lawrence, an incredible supporting cast and some cool action scenes, but doesn’t earn my hard earned dollars. It isn’t a must-see. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 isn’t catching fire. In my opinion, it’s smoldering without enough tinder to spark anew.
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