The Hunger Games series has finally come to an end with the Mockingjay Part 2. It is crazy to think that a series I was so hyped for after the end of Catching Fire, I almost forgot about this year. Some of that is because of a movie involving space ninjas with laser swords, but most of it is because of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 almost ends the series on a high note, but being half of a movie definitely hurt it.
The Mockingjay Part 2 picks up exactly where Part 1 left off with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) recovering from her attack by the brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). She then sets out to help the rebellion finish the war with The Capital, and take out her own personal vengeance on President Snow. Though it will be complicated with cameras in her face, and as she has to deal with District 13’s harsh methods.
The narrative arch in the first act of the movie really suffers because all of the build up is in Part 1, so they have to try and build up again in Part 2, but with far less material to use. It also makes the two hour and fifteen minute running time of the Mockingjay Part 2 feel stretched out. It was one thing for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows to be split up. Its series’ epic scaled and loved characters earned its second bow. Even then Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows is one of the weakest movies in the series. With the Hunger Games, splitting up the final book was simply a naked cash grab that hurt their franchise’s legacy. Thankfully once Mockingjay Part 2 does get moving it almost makes up for the weak start.
The actors all continued their good work. Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss to perfection. She is suffering from severe trauma, PTSD, and more than a little survivors guilt, but she still finds the strength to do what needs to be done. The rest of the actors are all wonderful as well, but this movie more than any of the others is about Katniss, so Lawrence’s wonderful portrayal makes this movie work.
The Hunger Game: Mockingjay was always going to be hard movie to get right thanks to the oppression of its characters, and its divisive ending, but splitting it up made it even harder. If it had been one movie with this cast and creative team I think they could have nailed it, and given the brilliant Catching Fire the sequel that it deserved. Still, as it is the Mockingjay Part 2 is a good movie, very good even, but it could have been great, and that is disappointing.