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.
Franchise veteran director Francis Lawrence delivers the final Hunger Games film with Mockingjay Part 2. The film picks up almost immediately after Part 1, and wastes no time in aligning all the key elements for the film to then unfold.
Mockingjay Part 2 is difficult to judge on its own merits, obviously not intended to be seen in isolation the film is very much feels simply the second half of a story, it does not sit well in its own company. In this sense the film is both a success and failure, as it allows the creative freedom and room to deliver the final story in the series with much more detail than compressing it into one film would have, however at the same time there are many franchise entries that find a balance between standing on their own merits and fitting in within a larger context.
This is very much an event driven film, generally light on in story elements (with most of the setup already in place), here Francis Lawrence takes the opportunity to weave together a detailed, and patient film depicting simply the final climactic battle in the Hunger Games series. Event films typically work best however when supported with strong underlying characters and in this regard Mockingjay Part 2 is rarely convincing.
Characters tend to be a bit flat or underdeveloped, a few key relationships are given the attention they deserve and this works reasonably well, but many characters serve mostly as scenery, with too little attention leaving them unable to have much of an impact.
Previous films in the series have made better use of the settings more eccentric characters, with an element of soap opera drama, and word play that often proved entertaining and engaging, and these elements are lacking here in comparison.
Moving into the underground rebellion elements of the series certainly changed the tone of the later films, and Mockingjay Part 2 is quite effective in its depiction of the larger scale conflict around which this concluding chapter revolves. There are extensive action/adventure sequences with interesting set pieces and these elements are effective.
The performances in Mockingjay Part 2 aren’t as memorable as we’ve seen before in the series but it boasts an excellent cast that aren’t given enough to do. Jennifer Lawrence is sound and consistent with previous outings, as are Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson. Donald Sutherland is excellent as President Snow, while both Julianne Moore and Josh Hutcherson have the more interesting character elements to work with.
Overall Mockingjay Part 2 is enjoyable and its easily a good enough ending, but it’s somewhat lacklustre as a finale. There are plenty of opportunities here for powerful and dramatic final showdowns but the feel never achieves the potential that the material had to offer. It capitalises at times but it could easily have been more compelling. Obviously this is a must see film for the fans, though for me it simply doesn’t showcase the best the series has to offer.
I’m giving it 6 out 10 stars, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 opened in cinemas on Thursday 19th November 2015.