“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” offers climactic finale to beloved franchise
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A stark improvement from the bland, excessive placeholder film that preceded it, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” serves as an intense, climactic finale to the profitable franchise. The last film follows Katniss, now a symbol of hope and resistance against the Capitol, as she discards her role as a mere propaganda pawn and fights alongside the rebels on the front lines.
With its strong pacing within individual scenes, “Mockingjay Part 2” never slows down. However, when each dramatic scene is spliced together in rapid succession, much of the emotional weight gets skimmed over, especially the scenes involving Katniss’s sister, Prim. The resulting rush muddles together many of the key, tumultuous points in the plot, both in the flashy action and in the raw sentiment.
On the other hand, the effective timing of the delivery of lines and of the purposeful camera angles and shifts exude a compelling sense of suspense. We hold our breaths with Katniss as she waits for her squadmate Polux return from around the bend in the cramped underground – the most nightmarish and enthralling setting of the film. You could hear the collective sigh of relief from the audience, perfectly in tune with Katniss’s, when he comes back unharmed.
Additionally, the film once again reintroduces the powerhouse cast of practiced actors who, as always, contribute an emotional depth, especially evident in the evocative scenes between Katniss and the confused Peeta as he struggles to discern reality from the Capitol’s programming. Before, I was beginning to think Jennifer Lawrence had outgrown her role in the YA action franchise, but this film proved that Katniss’s character has the depth and maturity worthy of a seasoned actress’s careful portrayal. Lawrence never fails in capturing the strength of her character with every steely-eyed gaze and her vulnerability with every shaking word.
It’s also worth noting the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s powerful command over the screen and the poignancy and sense of finality tied to Plutarch’s last letter to Katniss – a smart move when the remarkable actor was unfortunately no longer able to finish his role on-screen.
Grim, yet hopeful, the emotionally charged “Mockingjay Part 2” slips in dashes of dark, sardonic humor that elicited bemused chuckles from the audience. The film also boasts polished effects, complete with clean-cut, reverberating explosions and terrifying mutts, reminiscent of the horrific cave creatures of “The Descent.” “Mockingjay Part 2” shows visible improvements in pacing, delivery and showmanship, which are unfortunately deterred by a manufactured final scene, dripping with so much artificiality that it crosses the line to silly.
My conclusion: 6/10