The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 Movie Review

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is directed by Francis Lawrence and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, and Donald Sutherland as well as Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Willow Shields, and Sam Claflin. The fourth and final movie in this series will try to finish the successful franchise with Katniss making her final push for the Capital and President Snow. She will also have to make many decisions involving family and relationships.

With the cast and premise this movie already has the makings of a pretty solid movie. I did read all of the books. I read the first one in about a day, and the other two within the next two weeks, but the first was by far my favorite book. I thought that out of all books it had the most interesting plot as well as pandering to a genre I really like: that of an almost post-apocalyptic world. The second book was strong, and I enjoyed the third, but the third book was definitely my least favorite. The movies have gone a bit differently. The second movie has been my favorite with the first movie close behind and the third movie, Mockingjay: Part 1, far behind after I found it a bit boring with many speeches that never ended up having any meaning or further progress. A lot of times you will hear someone say a movie is “All Style, No Substance.” In my opinion (always remember that movies are subjective) the third movie lacked style with the anticipation of substance. The anticipation of substance, in theory, should have led to a mass of substance in Mockingjay: Part 2. Well, did it? I’m going to say that it did.

This movie picked the franchise up off the ground that the last movie left it on, and finished strong. Jennifer Lawrence gives career defining performances in these movies. They may not be performances that are going to win her Oscar after Oscar, but when we look back years later on the fan favorite actress Jennifer Lawrence, Katniss Everdeen is definitely going to be a character that she is known for and has owned for years. They aren’t over acted, yet aren’t underacted, which, from the writing and the character, could be very easily done. She does very well making sure to do justice to the character, and she is by far the best choice for Katniss. Really all of the performances in this movie are strong. I always love to see Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch in action. I think that these are Liam Hemsworth’s most noteworthy performances thus far in his career. Elizabeth Banks always transforms herself, and Donald Sutherland does a very good job playing the villain of the franchise. He is someone who you are absolutely disgusted by and Sutherland’s delivery and mannerisms portray President Snow to perfection.

The last piece in the acting department of the film I need to talk about is Josh Hutcherson. I like Josh Hutcherson and have grown up with some of his movies like Zathura and Bridge to Terabithia. I’ve seen him grow into the successful actor he is today, and he does a very good job portraying a character who goes through so much change. When you listen to me talk about movies, you will notice that characters are the quickest way to my heart. If a character is well written and well acted, I will take notice. Hutcherson does a very good job showing this change. Remember when he was head over heels for Katniss in the beginning of the franchise? He is a completely different character at the beginning of this movie and really impressed me with his abilities. I do not always think that the writing suits the character best, but Hutchinson does his best with what he is given.

I also want to talk about how well the action is done. There is some really good action when it happens in the movie, and it’s truly enjoyable, well shot action that is easy to follow and understand. The way the camera is used portrays the dark tones and elements of the film very well and immerses you in the world that you need to be in to be able to connect with this movie on an entirely different level. There are not many risks taken with the shot and direction, but it is also not poorly directed. The way the movie finishes the franchise is definitely interesting and a quality finale to a box office hammer.

Unfortunately, I do have a few issues with the movie. First of all, there are some parts and scenes of the movie are painstakingly slow. Sometimes it is not easy when key plot points are already written, so I can’t credit the movie with everything in that aspect. The slow points do, sometimes, guide the story along, but they often difficult to watch. I also have never bought into either relationship of Katniss and Gale or Katniss and Peeta. It may just be the personality of Katniss, but for me, she has never gelled well with either guy in the stereotypical love triangle. My final issue with the movie is the way Katniss is used and described. It isn’t a huge issue, but I sometimes feel that the title of the “Mockingjay” is almost “over-hyped.” Katniss IS the hero, and she IS a crucial part of the rebellion, but the idea that she is just the “Mockingjay” is overused almost to the point of exhaustion. I like her as a hero, and she is a good protagonist, but why can’t she just be our hero and protagonist? I mean, without receiving the Mockingjay pin in the first book/movie, would she be the Mockingjay? Sometimes, to me, it feels like an inside joke that everyone is in on when I would prefer if she were just Katniss.

Overall, I had a good time with the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. I think it is a strong finale to the strong franchise. I’m going to give the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 a 7.2/10. So did you guys see Mockingjay yet? Do you plan to? Which is your favorite Hunger Games movie? My order is Catching Fire, Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 2, then finally Mockingjay Part 1. My next review will be on Thursday. Every Thursday I will review a movie as a “Throwback Thursday Review.” I will typically relate them to a movie that is coming out over the weekend, so in honor of a certain boxing movie coming out this weekend called Creed, I will be reviewing the very first team up of the lead, Michael B. Jordan, and the director, Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station. That will be out on Thursday with a review for Creed following closely behind. Stay tuned for that, and remember that everyone is listening to 88.7 The Pulse.

PHOTO: The Hollywood Reporter

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm