Mockingjay Part 2 is the last film of The Hunger Games series. From that alone it walks in the door with cards already stacked against it. Not only does it have to tie up the whole saga for Katniss and crew, but it’s also the second part of a story whose first half left many wondering why it needed to be split in the first place. Don’t forget the expectations of those who have watched the films since the first one arrived in 2012 and the visuals forming in minds since readers first discovered Mockingjay in its book form beginning in 2010.
It’s a lot to live up to.
I’m not entirely sure it did.
Mockingjay Part 1 was too slow for my liking, but I appreciated that it allowed time to be more true to the source material. Mockingjay Part 2 does not continue that trend in either aspect. The pacing is practically a sprint from beginning to end and the filmmakers cut some pretty large corners to get everyone where they need to be. It’s an intense ride that keeps the tension ratcheted up high for too long if you’re familiar with the book. At times Mockingjay Part 2 is a horror movie; at others it’s a thriller or an action blow-out or a political drama.
While it does well to portray a fair amount of the danger Katniss faces on several fronts, the deaths of most of her companions happen so quickly and are moved on from so fast – both in visuals and the narrative – it sweeps away most of their impact. That coupled with the fact that we never see Katniss’ injuries the way we experience them in the original story, eventually left me unable to tell if the movie-version of Katniss had morphed into a video game hero or was just the recipient of a bunch of dumb luck. Either way it wasn’t what I was expecting. Although I should have known Hollywood would keep their lead actress as pretty-looking as they could get away with, even if she’s been through a war.
As the girl known as the Mockingjay, Jennifer Lawrence vacillates between cold, emotionless existing and moving moments of passion and determination. It’s easy to forget that Katniss isn’t necessarily supposed to be a likable character. She makes hard choices and good points. As a strong character she exhibits agency, vulnerability, and resilience. She’s still the girl inspiring braids, courage, and tears.
For all that I felt was missing from this adaptation, there were still messages about manipulation, media, love, and warfare. It’s still a tragedy tinged with hope. The film is shot well and while the mutts looked nothing like I imagined them, the CGI is the best of the series. The music supports the images. Mockingjay Part 2 is not the movie to watch if you’re already stressed out or upset about the state of the world. It’s a fine film, but I can’t imagine myself watching it again. When I want to revisit the story, I’ll go back to the book.
Mockingjay Part 2 was part of Strange Age of Tomorrowland World Awakens: Kay’s Top 10 Movies to see in 2015.
Kay reviews Star Wars books for FANgirl in addition to movies of several genres with a heart for storytelling and a mind that likes to analyze. She also writes about fandom reflections and fashion as well as co-hosts the Hyperspace Theories podcast. She has been known to make appearances on other podcasts including Fangirl Chat, Nerd Lunch, Disney Vault Talk's Rebel Yell, and Assembly of Geeks.
Currently a voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord.