Movie Review - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Mockingjay - Part 2 may be the most polarizing of the four Hunger Games movies, even for fans of the series. It moves along at a good pace and is action-packed; some of the other screeners with whom I saw the film complained that it was choppy, confusing, and slow, but I had none of those complaints.

The film picks up almost exactly where Part 1 left off - Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is getting treatment for her neck, as it's raw and sore, since Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) - who is not himself at the moment - tried to choke her. Peeta has essentially been taken over by the Capitol, as they've fed his mind a lot of propaganda to make him believe that Katniss is his mortal enemy. Katniss and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), meanwhile, are still fighting against the Capitol, but she's still being held in District 13 by President Coin (Julianne Moore), who wants her to wait for the right time to return. Katniss also has a plan of her own: she wants to assassinate President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

Part 2 is most likely the darkest of all four of the films, which shouldn't be a surprise to fans of the book series and of the movies; it ties up all of the things that Katniss and her team have been working on, including trying to overthrow the Capitol. Granted, The Hunger Games franchise starts out as a story about children forced to kill other children, by order of President Snow and the Capitol, so it's never been all hearts and butterflies; but Part 2 has a lot more violence, and also some scary elements, than the other movies in the series. There's one scene that almost reminded me of The Walking Dead, where Katniss and co. have to fight off mutts (engineered creatures, made by the Capitol); these almost looked like larger-than-life Gollums, actually, and the lead-up to the scene might be scary for younger kids.

Yes, see this movie - especially if you've seen the other films or read the books. I can't recommend this film for anyone who doesn't have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the events that occur throughout the series, because this movie gives no backstory (and it shouldn't have to, really). It was also very bittersweet to see Philip Seymour Hoffman back on the screen as Plutarch Heavensbee; I had heard that parts of his appearance in this film are CGI-d, since he passed away in February 2014, but it turns out they decided not to do that, and instead he just shows up less in the film than his character did in the book.

With this series ending, and only one more film in the Divergent series, I can't help but wonder what the next new dystopian film series will be; it will undoubtedly be adapted from a book series, but which series that will be has yet to be determined.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is in theaters today, November 20th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of approximately 137 minutes (though it was more like 2 hours 5 minutes, FYI). 4 stars out of 5.

{To read my previous Hunger Games reviews, click here, here, or here}

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