The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part Two | Movie Review

Initial Release: November 20, 2015 (USA)

Director: Francis Lawrence
Running Time: 2h 17m
Film Series: The Hunger Games
Adapted From: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

For the last three years, my birthday tradition has been going to see these films in the cinema with my closest friends. And these films were my own personal tradition because I knew that I would go back the next year to see the next one and would get to see all my friends too. And I’m not saying that now these films are over, I’m a hermit but now that these films are over I feel as though it’s the end of an era. I thought that this film was an excellent and very, very satisfying conclusion to the series. It was never going to be an easy task, wrapping up this franchise, but I think this film did a cracking job. All the plot points were wrapped up nicely and Katniss gets a proper send-off and finally gets a day off. I would have liked some of the more minor characters – like Effie, Haymitch, Johanna and Annie – to get a little more screen time and a little more of a send-off, but considering the mammoth task that this film had to accomplish, I’m not going to grumble too much. Basically this film was fab, and now I just have to mask my grief in this incredible film franchise coming to an end.

Realizing the stakes are no longer just for survival, Katniss Everdeen – played by Jennifer Lawrence –  teams up with her closest friends, including Peeta – played by Josh Hutcherson – , Gale – played by Liam Hemsworth – and Finnick for the ultimate mission. Together, they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow, who’s obsessed with destroying Katniss. What lies ahead are mortal traps, dangerous enemies and moral choices that will ultimately determine the future of millions.
I sometimes forget just how much I love Katniss Everdeen, but whenever I watch the films I am reminded just how determined and strong-willed she is and how strong her sense of right and wrong is too, and this is something that I think is one of her defining characters. It was so nice to see her finally finish the war that she has been carrying on her shoulders, and for her to get some well-deserved peace and happiness in her life. I’ve never really been a fan of Peeta, but I did admire his selflessness and loyalty and drive in this film. Gale – my personal favourite – got quite a bit of screen time and I really liked how he and Katniss went their separate ways but still remained friends.
I thought that the way the film managed to carry the story – without random, endless streams of action – was really enjoyable to watch and I loved how much of the film concentrated on the politics of the world, and the power struggle that takes place because this aspect suddenly made the film more than just a typical YA dystopian. The conflicts in this film were complex and twisted and I loved the way how the story kept you guessing right until the end. Even as a reader of the books, I still wasn’t exactly sure about what was going to happen.

Considering that this films was adapted from a world-wide best-selling series, one of the things that I loved so much about this film – and the three previous films – is their ability to make complex and enjoyable films whilst still remaining true to the books. There was nothing in this film that I thought could have been replaced with something else and everything that I wanted to see in the film was in it. It’s clear that this franchise pushed Jennifer Lawrence out into the acting world and I think that in this film you really get to see why. The emotions and feelings that she manages to convey nearly had me convey, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more realistic looking crying scene. There was no glamour or carefully placed eye-drops, it was raw emotion and I think managed to capture what the whole story was about. That war is a good thing. It isn’t kind or generous.

Another thing that I really love about this franchise of films – and this film too – is how visually amazing these films look. The scenery and the lighting and the costumes that these films really add another dimension to the story. Some of the scenery in this film really managed to capture the emotions of the characters and I loved how the scenery changed near the end of the film to beautiful sunsets and rainstorms – when Katniss was beginning to find peace with herself and her life.

Despite the serene ending of this film – and an ending that I think was frankly perfect in wrapping up the franchise – there were plenty of heart-stopping and thrilling moments that had me hooked to the edge of my seat. The stakes weren’t exaggerated one little bit in this film and there was a genuine fear and jeopardy that gripped me throughout the film that anything could happen – even though I knew who made it to the end. This film definitely had it all for me – there was heart-pounding action scenes, tense political discussions, daring raids, slow emotional scenes and there was still that little sprinkling of humour – courtesy of Haymitch – that kept the little lighter spark alive in the film.

I thought that this was a near perfect conclusion for this franchise – a franchise that is and will continue to be one of my favourite of all time. I loved how everything was wrapped up, and how finally, we – and Katniss – are at peace and all we have to do know is nurse of hearts back together.

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