Mockingjay Part Two brings to a close the film adaptations of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy in thrilling but uneven fashion.
Following directly on from the events of Mockingjay Part One, Part Two sees Katniss and the rebel army march onto Capitol to take down Donald Sutherland’s President Snow. Pulling the strings of the revolution is Julianne Moore’s Alma Coin, who as the movie progresses expertly shifts from freedom fighting liberator to a manipulative puppet master, leaving Everdeen to questions who she is fighting for in all this chaos.
Splitting the final novel into two parts was always going to cause pacing issues (see The Hobbit) Mockingjay Part One proved divisive among fans and this will likely have the same result. The franchise has never quite managed to live up to the brilliance of Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 2 turns out to be an amalgamation of all that has been good and bad about the series over the years. It brings with it some of the tedious dialogue and exposition from the previous entry but it also has some of the franchise’s finest action sequences- a fight in the sewers which has been teased in the trailers is the movie’s high point.
The Hunger Games has stood head and shoulders above every other YA franchise for a number of reasons- it’s exceptional cast which includes Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland and the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman gives it one of the finest franchise line ups of all time but it is its dark subject matter that has really helped propel it above the rest. The Hunger Games will have no doubt introduced countless young people to politics and got them involved with the ideas of democracy and revolution and whilst this entry may not be as strong on that front as the aforementioned Catching Fire it still holds plenty of brilliant ideas about corruption, martyrdom and media control.
The cast all provide their usual stellar performances even if Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks (two of the franchise’s best assets) are largely absent from proceedings. We do get to spend more time with Donald Sutherland this time around though and his Machiavellian President Snow. Snow has become one of the best villains in cinema this decade and this is the film where he really is allowed to shine.
Having not read the books I am unable to comment on the quality of Mockingjay the novel but it would appear that it perhaps the least acclaimed of Collins’ work. It has some pretty dubious plot holes so it is to director Francis Lawrence’s credit that he has managed to make the film work as well as it does. That being said one of the biggest moments in the film does feel somewhat underplayed and lacks the emotional punch it should have- being reduced instead to an afterthought in a drawn out and rather messy epilogue.
Whilst it never reaches the brilliance of the first two movies Mockingjay Part Two is a fitting send off to one of the most loved franchises in modern cinema.