Reaching The End Game: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
A determined, but weary, fighter continues to seek closure her efforts in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. At the onset, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) recovers from severe injuries inflicted upon her by a mind-altered Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). As a result, she resolves to do anything to assassinate Panem President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland). District 13 leader Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) insists Katniss has done her part, but she wants to do more than be the symbol of the mockingjay. Fellow Quarter Quell survivor Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) suggests a way for Katniss to get back into the fight and achieve her goal, which leads Everdeen to join a team of elite fighters on a mission behind the main troops, which include fighters once loyal to Snow, on their way to the Capitol through District 2. For reasons known to leadership, Coin has sent Peeta to join them. Traps await, and Katniss becomes the leader when a mortally wounded Commander Boggs (Mahershala Ali) transfers power to her.
The remaining troops, with the aid of detecting equipment, realize the roads and buildings have been planted with explosive pods. The crew goes underground, only to find that dangerous creatures await for them in the underground. Others fall in that journey, and find traps and troops waiting for them as they get back near the surface. Capitol refugee and videographer Cressida (Natalie Dormer), however, gets them to a place of refuge from the underground dangers they face. As air strikes from Commander Paylor (Patina Miller) hit targets in the Capitol, Snow opens his mansion to the Capitol residents as shelter. Katniss and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) blend into the crowd of refugees, unaware that one more obstacle awaits in between them and Snow.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 ends the series of movies based on the Suzanne Collins books in a satisfactory way. Throughout the series, people referred to Katniss Everdeen as the "girl on fire." While Katniss goes about the business of extinguishing that flame, both Snow and Coin know what to fear in this fighter - an independent thinker. She's already ruined two Hunger Games for Snow, and returned to fighting against Coin's orders. She's a leader with a voice, as well as well as a target from any detractor. The pacing, though, from director Francis Lawrence gets a little too slow between the fighting and explosions. The Mockingjay novel was stretched out over two movies - and it shows as Part 2 progresses. Some viewers will likely want the games to end as much as the main character does. The Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows movies set a respectable precedent for the Mockingjay movies. While this Part 2 isn't as engaging as the Harry Potter conclusion, I though Lawrence and scenarists Danny Strong and Peter Craig did a decent job overall.
The big draw of the entire film series, though, has been Jennifer Lawrence. She maintains the humanity of Katniss Everdeen, a young woman who should be consumed by the violence occurring all around her - and her objective for Snow. She steadfastly refuses to give up on the people who have done well by her, especially Peeta. She knows how Peeta was before being captured by the Capitol, and never stops believing he can once again be that caring person. She also knows how to assess allies and opponents, and usually hits the mark on these people in the same sort of way she does with a bow and arrow. Hutcherson is still solid as Peeta, who comes to see how captivity damaged him, and comes to understand that he may never be the man who helped Katniss so much. Sutherland and Moore shine as leaders with cunningness that many understand and respect. Woody Harrelson has some strong small moments as Haymitch Abernathy, a skilled strategist in his own right who sees the results of his training during a meeting they have with Coin. Also returning in small roles are Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket), Jeffrey Wright (Beetee Laiter), Willow Shields (Prim Everdeen), and Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman). Mockingjay - Part 2 also marks the final film appearance of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, a gamemaker who also offers advice and counsel to Coin and Katniss.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is a good conclusion to a good film series. The saga of Katniss Everdeen, while set in the future, speaks to the world of today, where the gap between the rich and the poor seems to grow all the time. Katniss never wanted to be a voice for so many, yet finds herself accepting the challenge to fight - and to call for change that segregates the residents of her country. Her world seems to be much like ours in that equal rights for all is too often regarded as a suggestion. Money talks for those who have it, while others struggle for dignity and recognition. Katniss Everdeen has come to learn that fighting only accomplishes so much. True success comes from making words and actions benefit everybody, and not just for those who insist on walking in lockstep to silence the dissenters.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 three stars. Finding good aim one last time.