Suzanne Collins’ epic saga comes to a gratifying conclusion with “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2.” Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Josh Hutcherson return to reclaim freedom for the future and take down Donald Sutherland’s President Snow once and for all. Director Francis Lawrence takes us back to the dystopic world of Panem in the final chapter of the science fiction adventure.
Realizing the stakes are no longer just for survival, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) teams up with her closest friends, including Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Finnick (Sam Claflin) for the ultimate mission. Together, they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow (Donald Sutherland), who's obsessed with destroying Katniss. What lies ahead are mortal traps, dangerous enemies and moral choices that will ultimately determine the future of millions in “The Hunger Games: Mockingbird, Part 2.”
Jennifer Lawrence shines once again in the role of Katniss Everdeen. After what felt like an emotional disconnect in Part 1 of "Mockingjay," she seems to have found her footing again. Her performance, whether she’s angry or sad, comes across as genuine and this helps keep the viewer engaged in the cinematic experience.
Julianne Moore and Phillip Seymour Hoffman both bring their A games to the roles they’ve embraced. Moore’s ability to take on the persona of President Coin is evident in every scene she appears in. Hoffman’s reserved demeanor in the role of the self-absorbed Plutarch Heavensbee is worthy of note. I find myself feeling obligated to mention what a great actor we lost in Mr. Hoffman.
The special effects for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2" are impressive. I don't recall being distracted by any shoddy green screen or weak CGI work. All the elements, both artificial and practical, come together to create a stunning product for everyone to enjoy.
I have a minor complaint to air about "Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2." The first movies were somewhat believable and didn't cross over into serious sci-fi. You could see what was happening onscreen being a possibility in the near future.
In the final installment “The Hunger Games” series, elements of what are referred to as creature features are noticed. I found myself comparing certain scenes and characters to "Resident Evil," "Alien," and even "Batman Beyond." When I questioned my son about these occurrences, he said they're explained better and appear more frequently in the books. For those who haven't read the novels, they appear to come out of nowhere and not really fit in with what audiences who haven’t read the books expect from these movies.
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2” is full of social and moral commentary. That’s what the entire franchise is built upon. We see the old saying “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” unfold before our eyes. The concept of “the end justifies the means” is explored as well. The lengths people will go to in order to get what they want is explored. We’re also reminded that if we don’t learn from our mistakes, history is prone to repeat itself.
The movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material. There are some horror elements that pop up in the hero’s trek to the Capital. Children are also put in peril and killed in one instant.
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2" is a satisfying conclusion to the series. You experience a sense of closure. There are surprises and we all get what we've been waiting for in the end. I found the tacked on "second" ending to be needless, but it doesn't ruin the experience. The first fadeout left me adequately satisfied.