Review: ‘The Hunger Games — Mockingjay, Part 2’

hunger games mockingjay review

Directed by Francis Lawrence, Mockingjay, Part 2 is the fourth and final installment of the The Hunger Games movie franchise, which kicked off in 2012.

I’ve read all three books by Suzanne Collins, but I happen to prefer the film adaptations made by Lionsgate. I think the books were incredibly flawed, both with tone and how certain plot lines lined up. The movies share some of the problems, but they also fix a lot of issues I had with Mockingjay, which was the third and in my opinion, weakest book.

Of course, this is the second half of a two-parter, and certainly the stronger entry compared to last year’s Mockingjay, Part 1. A lot of the complaints I had for that last movie was how painfully slow it was trying to stretch half of a short book into two hours. But if you stuck with MP1, then you’re going to feel satisfaction after MP2, which is pretty much all action and climax.

A lot of things work in MP2 that have worked throughout all of these movies. The locations are beautiful, the camerawork is nearly flawless, and there are brushes of wow-moments and creativity that set this story apart from other dystopia offerings. At this point, Panem feels like a real place with believable characters, and this movie excels with its incredible supporting cast, including the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

hunger games mockingjay review

But a major weakness in MP2 happens to be the under-utilization of these side characters, who are quite literally brushed to the side in favor of Katniss and her friends. And while I love what Jennifer Lawerence has done with this character overall throughout the series, I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed with her character’s arc, which is really a criticism toward the books.

In MP2, the story is that Katniss is more of a mythical symbol, rather than a dynamic force who can create real change. And the entire movie is her struggle against the leaders of the rebellion that she can do more than just rally the troops with some propaganda videos. But her singular drive to assassinate Snow eventually becomes tiring, especially as her allies drop like flies, perhaps needlessly.

That’s the point, I suppose. And the highest praise I can give MP2 is how brazen it is with its themes, presenting the rebellion as evil and asking real questions about how war can undermine the good intentions behind a movement. You forget quickly that only two movies ago, the Capitol was perceived as an unstoppable force, mercilessly killing any opposition. By the end of MP2, you’ll wonder what it was all for, and that’s an achievement for a movie aimed at the young adult audience.

hunger games mockingly review

Grade: B+

Paired with Part 1, this is a satisfying conclusion in more ways than one, because it manages to elevate was a disappointing book for many fans like myself. The performances are solid, if not a little underused, and not a moment of it is boring.

For a more in-depth look at this movie, come back this Sunday for the Now Conspiring podcast, where we’ll discuss this and other new releases.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

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7 Replies to “Review: ‘The Hunger Games — Mockingjay, Part 2’”

  1. Great review, I’m glad you enjoyed it and I agree with a lot of what you say. A lot of my problems came from the story just, everyone tells me the third book is the weakest and I think that reflects in the film. More of the supporting characters would have helped, it wasn’t quite the epic conclusion that I was hoping for but I still enjoyed watching it!

  2. You’ve mentioned a lot on your podcast how the movies are better than the books, but I’m not sure I agree. Maybe I’m jus too used to being inside Katniss’s mind, as opposed to watching her sulk and react for hours.

  3. I agree, they raised her once and that was sufficient. I am now looking to The Divergent Movies and was surprised two trailers came out the same day.

  4. Saw this last night, and I agree. Although, I was slightly underwhelmed by it. I didn’t leave with overwhelming sense of completion like I wanted to, but it wasn’t disappointing.

  5. I don’t agree with your context of the books since i enjoyed books more than the movie because in the movie it had sveral instances where the part was unfinished and it neded it’s ending which was due in the last movie but in books it was all in a continuatuon which was pretty good.
    Though I agree with you with the MP1, of how it was slow and tiring and was seriously streching.

  6. Jon, which movie do you think is the best, (of the Hunger Games series),and which book? For me it’s Catching Fire for both.

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