Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Peter Craig, Danny Strong, and Suzanne Collins
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Sam Claflin
I have anticipated this movie all year and I’ve seen it twice by the time this review has been written. The Hunger Games is a powerful series. I have long loved it since the books released years ago. The story has gripped me both in film and in books. It is misunderstood by many, but it has a compelling message and that’s what makes me love it the most. I would recommend checking out my the Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay Part 1 reviews before reading on.
Since Peeta has been hijacked, Katniss has become bent on revenge against Snow. She is determined to avenge her loved ones and end this war once and for all. The rebellion is gaining the upper hand and now have access to the Capitol, making assassination possible. Meanwhile, Katniss has had heard rumors about President Coin, causing her to question whether after this war is over if Panem will finally be a free country or only trade one tyrant for another.
Violence/Scary Images: Though this movie has a lot of on screen violence, there is little to no gore. There is some severe bruising, a few minor cuts, some bullet wounds shown at a distance, and a character is shot by an arrow and there is some blood. Snow bleeds from his mouth which can be a bit disturbing to some. Civilians and soldiers are either shot or blown up, but there isn’t anything graphic shown. There are some muttations (creations of the capitol) that are bipedal lizard beings with no eyes and sharp teeth that try to tear people apart. The creatures themselves can be scary for younger and more sensitive viewers.
Language/Crude Humor: None that I can recall.
Spiritual Content: None.
Sexual Content: There are a few kisses but they are mild.
Drug/Alcohol Reference: Snow and his inner circle toast with alcohol and Johanna takes some of Katniss’s morphling (similar to morphine).
Other Negative Content: Katniss is bent on a revenge for a time and she lies in her pursuit of it.
Positive Content: Many characters show strength, bravery, compassion, sacrifice, and love. I love how Finnick has such patience for Peeta in his condition. Positive sibling relationships are shown. Revenge is changed into cutting off the head of a snake to stop more killing. Peeta speaks to Katniss and says that instead of killing Snow for revenge she needs to do it to make the deaths of the people in the past films mean something, so they won’t have died in vain and as slaves of President Snow.
While watching Mockingjay Part 1 in preparation for this movie on the night of the attacks on Paris, I realized how relevant this series is to our world now. When the Capitol bombed the District 8 hospital full of wounded men, women, and children, I cried not only for the fictional beings sheltering in that building, but the nonfictional ones in the Parisian city.
Mockingjay Part 2 carries on this relevance in its message. As its logline says: the revolution is about all of us. Our world is fraught with war, poverty, and terrorism, gravitating more into the western world in these recent times. We see ISIS killing with no lines, no care for if someone is a civilian or a soldier. This film shows that first hand. It makes you feel the sorrow of people in these war torn locations. That this is real. It is happening not just in the fictional Panem, but in the modern France, Nigeria, and even the United States.
I’ve seen people argue that dividing the last movie was a frivolous move, but I’m glad they did for it gives us time for the message to unfold more smoothly. The second film certainly had enough plot to keep it going and as a fan I enjoyed having more time with some of my favorite characters. Mockingjay Part 2 has a gripping plot and a different tone than the previous films. There are many jump scares in this one and it has more of a games feel than the Mockingjay Part 1 did.
Katniss goes on a bit of a downward character arch, but as Peeta begins to recover from his torture under the Capitol, he lifts her up and it’s encouraging to their relationship grow, not just romantically, but as fast friends through the good and the bad. Though the spotlight is almost solely on them, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), President Coin (Julianne Moore), President Snow (Donald Sutherland), and the many other characters are shown as well. All of them are very well acted. Donald Sutherland’s performance as Snow as he’s beginning to unravel is excellent as well as Jennifer Lawrence’s performance of the grief-stricken Katniss and Josh Hutcherson’s performance of traumatized Peeta.
Costumes and make-up were excellent. Effie even gets some new outfits. I especially love her last one with the icicles on her eyelashes. I also adore Katniss’s yellow dress in the last scene of the film.
The sets were amazing as we get to see up close and personal the war torn Capitol. The buildings and rubble create an air of devastation. Few places are unaffected by the rebellion such as President Snow’s greenhouse which is absolutely perfect as it is full of roses and antique statues. The underground of the Capitol is damp and creepy and reminded me of the metro underground in Paris. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was filmed there. The CGI was well done. Everything looked so real. The camera work was very good, though in some sequences where the camera is spinning it’s a bit hard on the eyes.
The score was moving and powerful, not as capturing as the other films, but I enjoyed it all the same and I will be buying it as soon as it releases like I have all of the others. I was especially delighted to see that the credits piece is Jennifer Lawrence singing “Deep in the Meadow”!
Among all of the war movies with buildings blowing up and bad guys being mowed down by machine guns, this war movie stands out. War is brutal. It’s not happy or full of glory. It is deeply personal and horrific. This is a serious film and some people who saw it in the theaters with me viewed it as depressing, but though it is a solemn film, it has hope. It leaves you with a good feeling, but also a reality check. It is a satisfying ending to the series, especially for fans of the book. It brought tears of both joy and sadness to my eyes. I highly recommend it.
The Bottom Line