The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is the final chapter of the Hunger Games franchise 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.
One thing that baffles me slightly is the praising of this new and final instalment of the Hunger Games franchise. There are parts of the film that are worth praising, including the opening moments of the film and at certain points of the film, the actors prove their worth, but if you haven’t read the books, its a bit hard to fill in some of the gaps and lack of some of the characters. I understand, being a screenwriter myself, and even if I wasn’t it could still be understood that not everything can be included but there were just certain moments that lacked the proper clarity and explanation. It seemed that instead of the story, emotion, and interesting, as well as relevant, backstory, the action seemed much more of the focus, which is a shame.
As this is the final movie and concludes the civil war, it should be no surprise that some of the characters may die, whether we like them or not. These deaths, however, felt rushed, as if it was pushing forward to focus more on the action then really drawing the emotion out of the scene.
The new characters introduced are quickly disposed of as they essentially have nothing to do after the scene they’re used for to push the story forward. Both Gwendoline Christie, who played Commander Lyme, and Robert Knepper, who played Antonius, had only one scene each. Christie’s character disappears to never be heard of again for the rest of the film, despite being only introduced in Part 2, while at least Knepper’s character had a definitive ending but would have been more interesting to have seen from him a little more, even in Part 1. Even Stanley Tucci, who is even a well established character within the franchise, felt underused and under-appreciated for his talent. It seems that there were too many extra characters that the film didn’t care to establish or develop, almost making them superfluous.
The film tended to focus on Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen, which is totally warranted as she is the lead, but if her co-characters are almost left in the dust, it hardly makes for a strong film. Even that slightest bit more focus on Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta and his instabilities after being rescued from the capital would have made for a stronger story because it would’ve affected Katniss decisions and outlook more strongly. Even Katniss distrust and dislike of Gale, played by Liam Hemsworth, seemed rushed over even though he was the only other supporting character who had a decent amount of screen time.
The themes of the film, its anti-war messages, are relevant to our current society and is easy to pick up on the moral point Part 2 is trying to make about war. But along with some decent performances and the final film we’ll get to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman in, it falls flat and feels lacking of any emotional punch.
In the end, I’m just glad I read the books.