The finale of any movie series is always the most challenging. You have to wrap up every storyline, every character arc, and you gotta end in a big memorable way. Most trilogies and seires with definite endings usually manage to speed from one moment to the next while they are crossing their ’t’s’ and dotting their ‘i’s’. In all fairness I will admit I was not the biggest Hunger Games fan, which makes sense because it’s not for me, I don’t fit the demographic of young female teen. But I do love a good movie series, it’s the closest we can get to a great TV show where you can spend that extra time to linger on the smallest of details. As far as the films of this series I thought the first film was just okay, mostly some bad direction. I really enjoyed “Catching Fire”, the only one of the films I saw twice. “Mockingjay Part 1” I thought was going to be much like the second to last Harry Potter film, the calm, slow set up leading to the epic finale. So, was the latest popular book to film adaptation “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” able to finish strong?
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) the Mockingjay is still the face of the rebellion against the menacing Capitol run by the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland). As she and her political supporters (Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman) attempt to reverse the brainwashing done to Peta (Josh Hutcherson) which has made him violent towards Katniss, the war is building as the remaining 12 districts band together to overthrow the Capitol in order to reclaim a free Panem. Seeing no way to end the war without a major victory, Katniss and a small band of rebels along with Gale (Liam Hemsworth) intend to appear to infiltrate the Capitol in order to present good propaganda shorts, however Katniss has her own agenda: the assassination of President Snow. This all leads to death, destruction, the collapse of relationships, and the possible end of the way of life for all involved.
This film that is intended to wrap everything that has been building up for three films, just ends up being a long, drawn out, dry ending of what was a pretty entertaining series. It goes on so long, that as the characters look and express constantly how tired they are, you get the feeling that it’s not much of an act, but that they are truly tired of being in these films. And to be honest, there will probably be a substantial part of the audience that will feel the same way. What bothered me the most though, was that they promised this world-altering war, and we see none of it, just Katniss and her worn out crew moving along with a few bursts of action set pieces. It is the true definition of anti-climactic. Third-time director Francis Lawrence also goes the “Lord of the Rings” multi-endings, that are as disjointed and even less satisfying as they go on. I do give Jennifer Lawrence credit for putting in the best performance she can muster after three films, but it looked to be taking a toll even on her.
As a whole, these Hunger Games series one of the best Young Adult books that has been put to film since the Harry Potter films, even if this one did run out of steam by the end. But as I mentioned, these things can be difficult to wrap up, sometimes being beholden to the source material can hurt a film as you try to please the fans, you leave the rest of us with that familiar hunger for something more.
—Robert L. Castillo