The Hunger Games series has quickly become one of my favourite young adult film franchises of recent years. I think it’s certainly the leader of the genre since Harry Potter departed from our screens with series such as Divergent and The Maze Runner attempting to match it’s financial success as well as quality. Mockingjay Part 2 brings the series to a close after last years Part 1, could it be the perfect ending to a fantastic series?
I didn’t think it was perfect, no – but I still very much enjoyed watching the film. Your enjoyment will depend on many things but for a story with so many characters and relationships a lot will rest on how the story pans out for particular characters. Futhermore it may even depend on how much screen time your favourite characters get, for these reasons I found the story a little disappointing but I suppose that is down to personal preference. The story may not play out the way many will expect it to, everything about Mockingjay Part 1 lead audiences to believe that Part 2 would be all out war. If you are expecting this young adult take on war full of combat and a focus on the front line you will be disappointed. The story that Mockingjay Part 2 tells is one set against and amidst war but not specifically about that. Due to this I found it hard to settle into the film as I never really felt a part of the main action. Nonetheless when this setting changes I was taken back to the ‘moves and counter moves’ of the previous three films that I was craving, it just took too long to get to this stage unfortunately. If the war itself wasn’t to be the focus I think more time should have been devoted to the aftermath as this was undoubtedly the best section to the movie. Despite the climax of the film it never seems that satisfying and the final scene is far too cheesy, the scene immediately previous to it would have been a much more fitting ending.
Some other issues that I had with the film were the way it handled its more emotional and dramatic moments. I felt that throughout the film much of the content was very predictable, whist watching the events unfold it would quickly become obvious what was about to happen which did rob the film of some suspense. More could have been made of some moments too, as despite the scale of the drama I never felt the emotion that I had felt in the previous three installments. Certain characters aren’t on screen enough to create the desired effect for their moments instead, they often seem shoe horned in just to tick a box rather than to develop them or the plot. The lines of the fantasy element to the film are slightly blurred on one occasion too, and even though with rewatches this scene won’t be an issue and albeit isn’t a major one now it did distract whilst watching it for the first time. Many of my initial issues come from certain expectations and as I prepared for Mockingjay Part 2 I revisited the earlier films which only accustomed me to the quality this franchise can produce. However despite some disappointments I still have a lot of good to say about the film.
I’ve already highlighted that I thought the aftermath of the war is the most engaging and interesting section of the film, so this was a part of the story that I really did enjoy and whilst the writing is largely responsible for a lot of my complaints it had other merits too. The mid section of the film, whilst not focused on the front line had an exciting concept and was probably underused slightly. This concept allowed for much tension to accompany the film, this was especially the case during one scene set in the sewers which resulted in a pulse pounding experience for the viewer. This concept also meant that large amounts of special effects were required but they always impressed and they easily enhance the quality of the film. Finally, and as I have been in the previous films I was impressed with the cast and their performances. Even though these are varied in screen time most have enough screen presence to contribute positively to the film. Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic as Katniss Everdeen and Liam Hemsworth plays his role as Gale Hawthorn and one point of a love triangle very well too. However, for me the star of Mockingjay Part 2 was Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. Being absent for a lot of Part 1 Hutcherson could have easily faded into the background but his character is fleshed out in this film in a way that the plot and other characters aren’t. All the moments of the moving including Peeta were unpredictable, exciting and emotional. The supporting cast does their job too but never really get a lot to do, although it does say something about the strength of the films when you have the likes of Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore and none of them take main roles!
Mockingjay Part 2 isn’t at all what I was expecting and the issues I have should fade when I re-watch it. Ultimately I think it’s biggest problem is that the source material is weaker than the previous installments. When people were reading the books they would always tell me that the third one was the worst and I would have to agree in terms of the films, I think Mockingjay Part 2 is the weakest of the four films. However, I still very much enjoyed it and know I will want to see it again. Thanks to a great cast who all perform well, some elements of great writing and realistic looking special effects Mockingjay Part 2 is a good film but it just falls short of its predecessors which is a shame but it was always going to be tough to top the 74th and the 75th Hunger Games!
Rating – 7.5/10