Today’s review comes courtesy of the last instalment in the Hunger Games series. In three years we have had four films from the three books written by Suzanne Collins. A little confusing but we will persevere…
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth all reprise their leading roles for the finale that is The Hunger Games Mockingjay - Part Two.
After the lacklustre third film, does the climaxing instalment get our hunger rumbling again? We will tell you…
As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.
As we join a broken and beaten Jennifer Lawrence at the start of this instalment, it immediately screams you’re in for an eventful two hours. Katniss and her fellow rebels are every bit as damaged as they were last time out, but with nothing left to lose.
Katniss is focused on getting into the Capitol and personally assassinating President Snow. Everdeen and her little military group make their way through various challenges including fire traps, tar floods, and an attack by toothy – effectively creating one final Hunger Games.
This is all well and good, but it just feels repetitive. I’m not sure if it is solely down to the previous outings but maybe the Divergent and Maze Runner franchises have something to do with it too. In addition, Katniss has become a bit of a bore at times with her endless declarations of love for the delusional Peeta. The poor and hunkier Gale just watches by in the friend zone.
This film serves not only as a finale for the on-going plot, but also a goodbye to every character that has ever appeared in the film. It is like a conveyor belt of stars waving ‘see ya’. Katniss swaps mundane dialogue with Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final role) and Effie Trinket (played by Elizabeth Banks, who actually offers nothing to the narrative at all). It was like a planted final curtain call of “Oh, don’t forget that I was in this franchise too!” This is more of a criticism of the script for needlessly including some past characters.
Although, Donald Sutherland deserves praise. He is particularly brilliant as the calm, cruel yet strangely warm ‘granddaddy’ villain. I have grown to really like his character. Donald portrays the role meticulously.
Jennifer Lawrence is as usual her great self. She is emotional, caring and a warrior. I expect nothing less from an Oscar-winning film goddess. She holds the franchise together, especially when there are obvious below-par performances around her in an often muddled and sloppy narrative.
Directed by Francis Lawrence in his third Hunger Games offering alongside Suzanne Collins (author) serving as script adaptor and producer, this instalment offers a generous portion of action coupled with interesting political broadcasts which eerily seem quite topical. The running time of just over two hours rushes by in my opinion and I wasn’t left thinking there needed to be cuts throughout. I do question the lacklustre ending as it doesn’t feel as triumphant as it potentially should do – it feels like an end of an era but Katniss doesn’t actually seem any happier.
Finally saying ‘cheerio’ to Katniss Everdeen and all her cronies feels similar to saying goodbye to old friends – but rest assured – I do believe Katniss will take her cult figure status on the shelf next to Frodo, Luke Skywalker and the little wizard Harry Potter for generations to come.
Cineroom’s rating: 3 Stars
The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part Two is currently out worldwide in selected cinemas – certificate 12A.