The Hunger Games is a great film franchise with an excellent story, great acting and gritty tone. I can see how this became the go-to book adaptation after Harry Potter and Twilight ended, and that remains impressive considering how much competition arose in recent years. Though, Hunger Games made one drastic mistake: it split that last book into two parts. The result was a good and well-written story in Mockingjay represented by two okay movies.
Following the events of Part 1 where Peta goes apeshit, Katnis continues her quest to rid the Capitol of its corrupt government ran by President Snow. While she has up to this point destroyed the Hunger Games and become the international symbol for the rebellion, the time has finally come to strike. A team is assembled from both military and previous victors who will invade the Capitol and end things once and for all.
A lot of people looked to Mockingjay Part 1 as a disappointment and I see why. It was advertised as an action movie and ended up being a political thriller. I saw that movie for what it was an enjoyed it fine. But we left that movie looking forward to the next and last film, hoping for a much more action packed and enthralling movie to counteract the uneventful previous part. And yes, Part 2 has a lot more action than Part 1, but it still carries over the rest of Part 1’s problems.
This movie didn’t have to be two parts! Just because it worked for Lord of the Rings and Deathly Hallows doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone. I never read the book, but after seeing this movie I’m pretty sure Mockingjay didn’t have enough material to warrant two movies. It starts to show when you’re slowing scenes down, prolonging dialogue and refusing to frickin end.
I think that last point was the real kicker for me. Even if this book was going to be two parts, these movies most certainly shouldn’t be over two hours long. Maybe the first part could get away with that length, but not this one. To me, the third act is the most elongated section of the movie. The movie could’ve and should’ve ended three times before it finally did. It was the most blatant example of padding I’ve seen all year next to Fantastic Four’s entire plot.
Don’t get me wrong, though. This is a flawed movie; not a bad one. I believe there is no such thing as a truly bad Hunger Game movie, because they all have consistently strong qualities.
The action is still exciting and intense, even when the sequence comes down to just one shot with the bow and arrow. The acting remains this series’ best aspect, as you would expect from Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland among others. And while this film does suffer from having half its plot in another movie, the story is still captivating. The overall gritty tone and feel has always made these movies what they are, and it’s good to see that didn’t change here.
In theory, this movie will work best if seen directly after watching Mockingjay Part 1. If you were to see it on it’s own, you’re still in for a satisfying conclusion to a good series of movies. It’s nowhere near as good as the first two, but it’s still an enjoyable action movie all Hunger Games fans will enjoy.
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