The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)
  • Time: 137 min
  • Genre: Adventure | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Francis Lawrence
  • Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Dormer, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks


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.


  • The warrior is tired. More than ever, Katniss Everdeen bears the emotional and physical battle scars of being the symbol of the insurgency. Yet the cause for which she has long fought, at times reluctantly, seems no closer to being won than when she first volunteered herself in place of younger sister Prim as tribute in the 74th Annual Hunger Games. She has fought for her sister, for her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), for the rebellion and its leader President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), allowed herself to be used for the greater good, always for others and never for herself. However, this reimagined Joan of Arc does want one thing perhaps above all else: the death of the Capitol’s President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 means to bestow that long-awaited resolution to its heroine as well as the international audience that has made this a most profitable franchise. The film begins immediately after the shocking reunion that closed Part 1. Peeta has been rescued from under Snow’s captivity, but the purehearted boy has been tortured and brainwashed by Snow to view Katniss as the enemy, adding another layer of complexity to his relationship with Katniss. Manufactured as sweethearts for the viewers, Peeta’s feelings were never anything less than true whilst Katniss played her part for the ever-present cameras but reserved her heart for childhood love Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who recognised the increasing sincerity of her feelings for Peeta even before she dared admit it to herself.

    Now Katniss is even more on guard as she and the small squad including Gale, Peeta, Finnick (Sam Claflin), Cressida (Natalie Dormer), and team commander Boggs (Mahershala Ali) navigate their way through the largely vacated but heavily booby-trapped Capitol to reach Snow’s palace. Peeta is violent, unstable and traumatised – he’s an obvious liability to the group and a potential threat to Katniss, who fears Snow has programmed Peeta to kill her. Her belief in Gale is shaken by their differing ideologies. “It’s war. Killing isn’t personal,” he reasons, justifying the innocent blood he’s willing to spill in order to win their freedom. For Katniss, every life lost has always been personal. Meanwhile, Boggs warns Katniss that Coin is not to be trusted. Indeed, Coin is as ruthless a strategist as Snow in her manipulation of Katniss’ image as the Mockingjay. When Katniss disobeys her orders and joins the front lines, Coin spins her insubordination to serve her political agenda. “Whatever she’s doing,” Coin tells Plutarch Heavesnbee (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), “we conceived it. It was our plan all along.”

    The Hunger Games has always been the most character-driven of its ilk, which always puts it head and shoulders above the other films it has spawned (The Divergent Series, The Maze Runner). More than the inventiveness and the thrills of the deadly games themselves, the suspense was rooted in how Katniss came to and reconciled herself with the choices she made. Killing was always personal and when the names of the fallen are uttered – Rue, Mags, Cinna et al – their absences are keenly felt. If Part 2 feels a bit of a letdown, it is mainly due to the decision to split Mockingjay into two parts. This lessens the overall impact of the film, and most certainly dilutes the death of one particular character, who deserves at least a moment of grief rather than the glossing over given them here. In fact, the majority of the characters are given short shrift and the actors (Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci) who brought them to remarkable life are reduced to mere cameos. Of course, the events of the source novel may dictate this, but perhaps it would not have been so glaring had Mockingjay been a single three-hour final entry.

    Still, there is much to savour about Part 2, namely a phenomenal action sequence that has Katniss and her crew battling a ferocious horde of faceless mutants in the dank and labyrinthine tunnels of the Capitol’s underground sewer system. Above all, there is Jennifer Lawrence who has well and truly made this role her own. It’s no surprise that Part 2 opens with a close-up of her face. Throughout the series, that face has been in many a close-up as Lawrence conveyed a gamut of emotions. Her eyes speak volumes – just the evolution of her gazes at Peeta tells you everything you need to know about the state of her heart, and the final look shared between Katniss and Gale devastates like a punch in the gut. There is no doubt that The Hunger Games turned Lawrence into a superstar, but she gave it more than it gave her. Her intensely committed performance made Katniss Everdeen a heroine for the ages.

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  • Quickie Review:

    War is escalating, both the Capitol and the Resistance are at a point of desperation. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), the reluctant face of the rebellion must continue her role as a propaganda icon. At the same time she wants vengeance for all the pain and suffering President Snow (Donald Sutherland) inflicted on her and everyone she holds dear. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is gruellingly overstretched, it is clear that splitting the movie into two parts really hurt the movie as a whole. Simply put, it is not engaging or entertaining. The continuous drab tone makes an already long movie difficult to bear.

    Full Review:

    I like the first two films of the franchise, I even state that in my  review of Part 1. However, it all changed when I saw Mockingjay Part 1. I thought it was a decent movie but a definite step back in the franchise. I went into Part 2 hoping this would be the payoff for all the melodrama we had to endure in the previous film. Surprisingly, I found this movie to be even worse!

    The positive for most people will be the cast. They probably performed better than the script deserved. Especially, President Snow as the antagonist continues a menacing presence in Katniss’ struggle in the war. Unlike Part 1, there are some exciting sequences of action but they are just too far and few between. Nevertheless, I enjoyed these parts of the movie because they rid of the constant shaky cam of the previous films and had better shot composition. So this is as good as the finale is going to look.

    About a year ago after watching Part 1 I was irritated by the fact it was split into two parts, little did I know I’d be even more frustrated with Part 2. First of all this movie is just a collection of going from one checkpoint to the other. ACTION SEQUENCE – people sitting down and having long depressing talk – now rinse and repeat that several times. Even these talks, the long runs of dialogue are about things the characters having been trying to figure out since the first film. A major example of this is the love-triangle of Peeta, Katniss, and the pretty boy Hemsworth Jr. See, we are four movies in and that’s how little I care about this love-triangle that I don’t even know the name of the third person in the bloody triangle! Even the audience I watched it with audibly “ugh”ed whenever that came up. I won’t go too much into plot but there are some major twists and turns that our main characters uncover. However, due to the splitting of the story, the build-up in Part 1 doesn’t have the same momentum into Part 2. Which only led me to question Katniss’ intelligence for not being able to see what’s clearly obvious to the viewers. I also mentioned how depressing and drab the tone of the movie was. I understand that this is a war, and they are difficult times, but there are ways to bring some levity while respecting the circumstances. Speaking of war, where the hell is the war!? That’s right, we don’t even see the war in this movie. All we hear is distant gunfire that’s it because we are only following one small squad that are only there to shoot propaganda.

    This is the studio mocking the audience for spending money on blatantly clear cash-grabs. Thankfully I have a monthly movie pass so I don’t pay extra, but if you are thinking of spending your hard earned money on a movie to watch, this is one to avoid. There so many instances of snail crawling pace, Part 1 and 2 could’ve been combined to be one good 2-2.5 hour movie. At the same time I can’t fault the producers for the decision because it is clearly paying off for them in the bank account.

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  • Within the last 4 years we have all done it, raise 3 fingers in the air and sacrifice ourselves as tribute. Tributing for what exactly? Tributing our love and attention to the stories of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. It has been an amazing run for The Hunger Games franchise and now it comes to an end with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. Those who are only a fan of the film franchise and not the books were mostly disappointed with the last installment in the franchise and I’m glad to tell you that The Hunger Games franchise ends with the bang that we were all hoping for.

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 now brings the franchise to its powerful final chapter in which Katniss Everdeen [Jennifer Lawrence] realizes the stakes are no longer just for survival – they are for the future. With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss confronts President Snow [Donald Sutherland] in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends – including Gale [Liam Hemsworth], Finnick [Sam Claflin] and Peeta [Josh Hutcherson] – Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games.

    Before diving into Part 2, lets remember what Part 1 was all about: a lot of Katniss moping around about Peeta, a lot of plans being talked about while being in the underground bunker that is District 13 and making propaganda videos to keep the revolution alive. Yes, it is a breath of fresh air from the other films but the delivery is just not strong enough. The film lived short of expectations and that was mostly because the best parts of Mockingjay, the book, did not occur in the film at all.

    This brings me back to the rant that this film had no reason to be split into two separate films. The actual novel is only a fairly short (when compared to Harry Potter and Twilight) 390 pages and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is actually the shortest in the franchise clocking in at 2 hours and 5 minutes. Part 1 was a huge disappointment and it was giant relief that Part 2 made up for lackluster first part.

    Where The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 lacked in action, it made up in satirical messages. After a while, the film starts to force these messages on you as if you were President Snow himself. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 found the perfect balance for action and those very same satirical messages. These messages is what makes The Hunger Game franchise stand out from the rest so it is highly important that these messages get translated onto the big screen so I understand why The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was so important but with the no balance, the messages just gets drowned out in boredom.

    The first two films were highlighted by the Hunger Games and the Quarter Quell. The final installment does not have a typical game but President Snow still have his game makers working hard. As Katniss and company attempt to take over the capital, President Snow had his game makers place hundreds of traps within the capital which includes: flamethrowers, motion-sensitive machine guns, explosives and the creepy mutts. So much action and the sewer scene with the mutts literally makes up for every second Part 1 did not have action.

    The story of Katniss does not disappoint in the final installment but majority of the supporting characters get cut short. We were introduced to a lot of characters within the last four years so it is not surprising that they do not all have time to shine in the final film. For example, interest in the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale is at an all-time low and there is not much time to explore it fully.

    Once again, Jennifer Lawrence was nothing short but superb and you come to expect nothing less from the Oscar-winner. Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his final posthumous appearance and you get that same chilling feeling knowing that you will never see Katniss on the big screen again either. The Hunger Games franchise will be truly missed and here is to hoping that the Mockingjay will continue to inspire people around the world.

  • (Rating: ☆☆½ out of 4)

    This film is mildly recommended.

    In brief: Game Over.

    GRADE: B-

    The end is finally here as the successfully popular and somewhat disappointing trilogy The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 takes flight once again. For the last time, Katniss and her Scoobydoo crew fight against the evil President Snow and his elitist Capitol armies in a film series which has overstayed its welcome and has gotten progressively weaker with each viewing. At least this final chapter shows signs of life with its better action sequences and ties up its very loose narrative ends in satisfying if predictable ways.

    The convoluted plot immediately picks up where it left off in its previous installment: the rebellion rages on. Having survived the Hunger Games, Katniss has become the Mockingjay, a spokesperson and symbol for the downtrodden class wars and now join forces with rebel leader President Coin and her team. Gale, Finnick, and Haymitch remain steadfastly at Katniss’ side and a brainwashed Peeta has been recaptured and is being deprogrammed.

    After a rather slow start, the majority of this film involves overthrowing the government as a rigorous video game of chance, with many obstacles to avoid as the warriors sidestep deadly booby traps called pods to get to their intended target. (It takes nearly a half hour before the first war scene takes place.)

    Directed again by Francis Lawrence, this time with much more style and flair, the film takes its characters and the political story more soberly allowing stronger development and relationships to build between the riveting battle scenes, a factor sorely missing in the last two outings. The dialog still flatlines and doesn’t build to any emotional reward. Instead it stops the action coldly until the film gets to its next exciting combat scene. Although the non-battle scenes become superfluous and in need of some judicious cuts,
    kudos go out to two action sequences that more than make up for the price of admission: an encounter dealing with a flood of lethal CGI tar and the other involves a tense surprise attack in the sewers, which are skillfully staged by the director and very well edited to maximum effect by Alan Edward Bell and Mark Yoshikawa.

    Production values are consistently strong and the acting is more than adequate, even if the screenplay lacks polish. Some major characters, used more effectively in the other films from this series, are treated less importantly here and have minor underwritten status in this last go-round which seems a tad jarring. The series’ major strength has always been the casting of Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role. The actress soldiers on, giving the film more gravitas than it deserves.

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 rarely soars. Although this final film stays aloft pretty much of the time and does not crashes like a phoenix, the series itself still burned itself out in its mammoth length and delusions of grandeur. Less would have been more.

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  • One of the ugliest and blatant money-spinning schemes to emerge from Hollywood in recent years is the trend of splitting up the final entry of a successful book series unnecessarily into two parts. Although I wasn’t overly keen on The Hunger Games’ second entry, Catching Fire (2013), it was at least – along with the original 2012 movie that kicked off the successful movie franchise that helped launch Jennifer Lawrence into super-stardom – decently paced; a tight, nifty thriller with some enjoyable set-pieces. Part 1 of Mockingjay lacked anything in the way of spectacle, and while Part 2 certainly delivers on the action front, it still stutters due to stretching a pretty slim book into over 4 hours of screen-time.

    Following a slow start during which we meet up with heroine Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) who is coming to terms with the horrors of war and the re-emergence of the emotionally damaged Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) in her life, things pick up when Katniss defies the orders of revolution propaganda chief Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and the increasingly shady President Coin (Julianne Moore), and forces her way to the front line. What Katniss and her team face on their way to assassinate President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is a city booby-trapped to the gills with giant machine guns, flamethrowers, and other imaginatively-designed instruments of death awaiting them at every turn. Circumstances have changed but the Games remain the same.

    What Part 1 lacked most of all was the Hunger Games themselves, and here they are cleverly woven back into the story. As absurd some of the set-ups are (surely a couple of well-placed soldiers armed with walkie-talkies and sniper-rifles would have been more efficient and cost-effective?), they undoubtedly eject the film with the excitement it sorely needs. Mockingjay Part 2 is also extremely dark and violent, pushing its UK 12A certificate to breaking point. One set-piece set in a sewer that sees a horde of snarling monsters chase our heroes in a scene straight out of a horror movie and a genuinely shocking (if you haven’t read the books) moment of brutality near the end prove to be brave and mature decisions. And why shouldn’t young folk see death depicted without the usual padding or sentimentality?

    I also applaud the story for taking an unconventional approach to the inevitable Everdeen-Snow showdown, but its here that events take a confusing turn as Lawrence’s Everdeen is kept at an emotional distance that clouds her motivations without the aid of narration, and the movie struggles in the closing moments. It’s also an ending that should have come the film before, with the slicing of the story resulting in Part 2 going out with a slight whimper when it could have been explosive. On a positive note, it seems that audiences are finally catching on to the kind of studio greed that forced them to watch the likes of The Hobbit for nine hours over three years, as Lionsgate’s movie performed poorer than expected at the box office (though it still made a shed-load).

    Rating: 3/5

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  • It’s tough to say goodbye, especially when doing so carries many different meanings at the same time – and has implications both on and off screen. “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Part 2” (PG-13, 2:17) is the final film from Suzanne Collins’ blockbuster “The Hunger Games” YA book trilogy. So, we’re saying goodbye (“possibly” – more on that later) to this story and these characters in regards to our movie screens, and producers are saying goodbye to a film franchise that has become one of the top 20 in cinema history and whose films set box office records in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Within the action of this fourth film, the main characters have to say goodbye to others who survived the first three films, but don’t make it through this one, while in real life, Movie Fans are saying final goodbyes to the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman who died in early 2014 while filming this movie, making this his final film appearance. With so many real-life and character-related goodbyes involved with the ending of this series of movies, having a strong final film to enjoy would likely soften the blow. So, did we get it? Well… The story quickly gets to the action and rarely lets up. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), the Hunger Games victor turned reluctant warrior has given way to a darker and more worldly (and world-weary) young woman who is anxious for an end to Panem’s civil war – and obsessed with getting her revenge on the man whom she blames for it all – President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland). As determined as she is to accomplish her goals, Katniss must contend with Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), the leader of the rebellion, who doesn’t always have Katniss’ best interests at heart, Katniss’ love interest, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who has been brainwashed by Snow’s henchmen to want to kill her, and her best friend, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who’s jealous of what Katniss and Peeta have… or once had, or may have, or… (If Katniss had Facebook, her relationship status would almost certainly be “it’s complicated”.) Katniss can be surly and isn’t above going rogue, but she loves and feels deeply and has well-meaning supporters. Gale is there for her (as is Peeta, in his gradually increasing moments of clarity), and so is her sister Prim (Willow Shields), whom Katniss has always protected – at great personal risk (and whom Katniss could blame for the mess that has become her life, if you really think about it). Hunger Games mentor, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), friend and stylist, Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), fellow Hunger Games veterans, Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) and Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin), Alma Coin’s assistant, Plutarch Havensby (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and tough military commander, Boggs (Mahershala Ali), all try to help Katniss, but there’s only so much that they can do. She has decided that she needs to kill President Snow – up close – regardless of whatever propaganda role she’s being given or what potentially deadly obstacles (as in, sadistic booby traps) stand in her way. Ending the civil war is very personal to Katniss and she alone is uniquely able to do just that – if she can stay alive long enough.

    “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Part 2” isn’t… game-changing, but it is a very strong, effective and entertaining end to “The Hunger Games” saga. Frances Lawrence, director of all but the first film, keeps screenwriters Peter Craig’s and Danny Strong’s story moving at a good pace and with some surprising twists. The action and visual effects are the best of the series and while there is a lot of violence, on both large and small scales, as with the other films, we are spared an excessive amount of gore in those moments. However, the movie does not skimp on its ever-present themes of the inherent ugliness of war and the difficult moral choices that those fighting war must face, and Katniss gives voice to both.

    The script is especially good in its discussion and depiction of war, but also in the changes it made from the book “Mockingjay”. Purists may disagree with the changes, but they are suitably dramatic, give good closure to the story and maintain the spirit of the story’s source material. The themes in the books are consistently and remarkably well portrayed in the films – especially this one. The same could be said for the actors’ performances. Although this film means saying goodbye to this story, it may not necessarily mean saying goodbye to the general setting or some of the characters. There is some talk of a “Hunger Games” prequel or sequel. While we Movie Fans wait for the final word on those discussions, the last movie based on the original YA book trilogy gives us a lot to enjoy, to think about… and to miss. “A”

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