“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” Movie Review

*Sorry for lateness. Had many academic activities to catch up on. After this, I’ll post my review of Spectre, and then onto The Force Awakens.*
Did Linosgate Studios really need to make Suzanne Collin’s third novel into two movies? No. Were they both enjoyable in their own right? Sure. This gritty sci-fi action adventure film was released on November 20th, 2015. Despite having a lower opening weekend than it’s predecessors, it still managed to gross $571 million around the world against a $125 million overall budget. Now if you are new to the franchise and are one of those people who likes to jump in on the final installment, I’m afraid that you’re out of luck. It immediately picks up where the previous film left off, and can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the lore and story. In the far future, on the continent of Panem, two children between the ages of 12 and 18 years from each of the 12 Districts are randomly selected to participate in The Hunger Games, an annual fight to the death with the winner’s District being awarded plenty of food and supplies. During the 74th Hunger Games, a teenager named Katniss Everdeen volunteers for her younger sister, the first contestant to do so. She and her male counterpart, Peeta Malark, win the contest as a duo, become highly-publicized lovers, and ignite the fires of Rebellion. In this installment, Katniss has turned into the literal face of the Resistance as they move closer to taking down the Capitol and the malevolent President Snow. While this franchise has suffered some criticism for being derivative of other last-man standing or death match reality show films, including Battle Royale, it also takes inspiration from ancient Greek stories. Even in her fourth outing and in her mid-twenties, Jennifer Lawrence is still beautiful and compelling as the lead character, Katniss Everdeen. She single-handedly drives this movie above general expectations and into an exciting, unpredictable ride. In fact, the entire cast is what makes up the best part of the movie. Donald Sutherland shows he’s still got it as President Snow, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson do very well as a fashion diva Effie and a drunk mentor Haymitch, Sam Claflin was a true hero as the trident-wielding warrior Finnick, and perhaps second-best, Josh Hutcherson shows us how muvch he has matured as an actor in his wild role as Katniss’s amnesiac lover, Peeta Mallark. Sadly, Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman don’t get enough screen time as the enigmatic duo in charge of the Resistance, Alma Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee. This was actually Hoffman’s last film before he died of an accidental overdose. When he died, there were apparently two more scenes that had not yet been finished, and the director refused to recreate him with CGI, opting instead to rewrite his scenes. Anyway, if the previous Mockingjay film lacked any action at all, then Part 2 is one of the most action-packed films of the year. Although it lacks the same level of intensity and thriller elements of the first two films, it makes up for this with startling moments of death, an underlying feeling of suspense, and quite the monopoly of explosions, shootouts, and standoffs. When they’re walking through the streets of the Capitol, you never know when an elaborate trap will go off for them. As I said before, this film is gritty. That was actually just a sugar-coating. While The Hunger Games franchise overall has had a reputation for being less than lighthearted films, Mockingjay Part 2 is dark, gritty, mature, violent, occasionally depressing, but ultimately displays a hopeful message. The tone of the film is a direct result of the complex, sociopolitical themes and topics covered. The effects of war, betrayal and loyalty, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, totalitarianism, severe poverty, oppression, love, and physical and emotional hardships are all explored in a thoughtful way. The film’s weakest point for me was Katniss’s mother. Seriously, she was completely useless in trying to take care of her two daughters, even in moments where she had the clear capability. Overall though, Mockingjay Part 2 offers an overall satisfying conclusion to the franchise. Suzanne Collins provided a fresh dystopia for Young Adults, and the films provided a fresh love triangle and visual style. If you’re new to the series, I would suggest watching all of the previous films in order or reading the trilogy of novels. Has anyone else noticed how many stories are getting seperated into two movie adaptations? *Cough cough It’s all Harry Potter’s fault Cough cough.*

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