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Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Spoiler Free)

Updated on March 11, 2016

Foreword

As mentioned in the title, this will be spoiler free.

Also, I will evaluate this film as a standalone entity. Later on (potentially next week or so), I will create a commentary on the adaptation of film from book (in my Page to Screen capacity) that will come with spoilers, obviously.

Also, when I went to see this I was nearing my end for The Hunger Games fever that was everyone and was tired of the commercials. Take that into consideration as you read my review.

Movie poster for Mockingjay Part 2.
Movie poster for Mockingjay Part 2. | Source

Initial Impressions

This film completely does away with everything that made Part 1 so boring; it's fast paced and very few characters spend screen time moping around feeling sorry for themselves. And while this film isn't slow at all, it's relentlessly fast. Things will happen and if you're not on top of it, you'll miss some very important plot points. Use the restroom before you sit down, or you'll be upset (unless you read the book of course). Also, I still feel that the grand majority of side characters are sidelined and used more as bodies than they are actual characters, but such is the way of a book series that is limited first-person.


The Plot

There's two acts, the Fighting and the Aftermath, and it's all set on overdrive. Seriously, all that you're allowed to know about the plot is that the war against the Capitol is coming to a close. That's it.

The film is mostly about the action and doesn't use a lot of buildup nor slowing down, even in the Aftermath (in fact, it's more of a montage of scenes showing after the war). However, there's plenty of different landscapes that will keep the eye entertained.

I'm still bothered by the lines intended to be profound or inspirational, given the fact that the trailers have repeatedly aired and reused over and over again. Even in the film, Katniss makes a speech and they replay the last two minutes of that speech starting a minute after she had finished it. Whoever wrote the script believes that what they produced was gold and I find that irksome when it's so blatant.

I also still have some issues regarding the emotional beats the show attempts to put on me. I feel that the movie needed to devote more time to some of the characters that aren't Katniss or Peeta for me to feel either loss or victory over their deaths. To be honest, there is one in particular I really enjoyed for reasons I can't say (obviously).

Best character? Best character.
Best character? Best character. | Source

Performance

Jennifer Lawrence delivers the same performance you expect her to which is to say she does very well. Your series regulars (Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, and especially Elizabeth Banks) also do the same upstanding performance you've seen all along.

Everyone else, despite being regulated to a side character, performs very well in addition. Julianne Moore, who plays President Coin, does what she can with the script she's given, a very 2-dimensional being who is more of a necessary plot point than anything else. Also, given the fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman died before this film's release, I'm not sure how much they used CGI to recreate him. If it's in any substantial amount, I'm impressed because I couldn't tell. Bully for the animators then?

Oh, and Donald Sutherland is amazing as always.

In my opinion, this is easily one of the best armors put to screen. However, it's not used nearly enough.
In my opinion, this is easily one of the best armors put to screen. However, it's not used nearly enough. | Source

Missing Links in the Plot

I'm not entirely sure what it is but I feel there was missing segments that weren't explained (which, on another note, is how I felt about the original source). Some characters do a completely different character simply because the plot demands it, not because of any apparent reasoning or desire which left me feeling confused and empty when their character leaves the story. One line of foreshadowing does not prepare for such a 'twist.' There are actions character perform that don't make sense (blowing up your still currently useful map when you still have an explosive arrow to use?) but everybody just goes along with it and no one questions anything.

Also, while I said this review is more for the merits of the film on its own, I have more of a problem with Gale. He's a lot whinier and dependent on Katniss than in the book which is for the purpose of allowing you not to feel bad if the main protagonist doesn't pick him, but it's more clear in the book that it's Katniss's own somewhat selfish reasoning that she pulls away from him. I speak more about this in the Page to Screen where the books show you kinda how unlikeable Katniss can be, compared to the Jennifer Lawrence adaptation.

And there's the Capitol. Slight Spoilers in this paragraph. Every battle the rebels fight against the Capitol they not only win, but they win in style. We are given no idea on the amount of losses the rebels suffer, and almost every set up of the Capitol is simply beaten without any real sense of struggle. If it wasn't for Donald Sutherland's performance, beating the Capitol would have no heart or victory (I mean, what little victory that there is).

I'm not saying these moments ruined the film from me, but these nonsensical moments immediately take me out of the immersion.

Rated PG-13

The worst things you'll find are the violence and disturbing scenes. As a war film, there will be deaths, both offscreen and somewhat graphic. There is the psychological tone that's apparent. It's a little dark for a young-adult film in ways, but it's not going to throw you for a loop.

Closing Thoughts

All in all, if you like the Hunger Games you should like this movie. It has what you like but doesn't really evolve the subject matter, nor does the franchise really break any storytelling barriers. It's exactly what you expect if you read the book, and it's exactly what you expect after watching the previous films. This film doesn't really justify why it must have been split into two parts, but this is by far the superior half of the original source.

If you like the Hunger Games, you'll probably have already seen it by the time you read this review.

Effie's hair came back!!!!
Effie's hair came back!!!! | Source

Tl;dr

  • Has all the advantages and disadvantages of the source story
  • Jennifer Lawrence is as good as ever
  • Side characters are more background characters than real people
  • Great sets and CGI usage
  • Effie and her hair come back!
  • Some plot and development seems to be skipped to keep momentum

Do you plan on seeing this film?

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Further Reading

Interested in what I have to say about other movies premiering this Fall? You can check out my recommendation list.

Also, if you have any interest in some of the Summer films that have come out for purchase, you can check out my similar list there.

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