PG-13 | 137 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
Review - Matt Mungle
**In theaters November 20th 2015**
Synopsis: As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.
Review: THE HUNGER GAMES franchise comes to a close with an emotional, action filled conclusion as MOCKINGJAY PART 2 releases. PART 1 ended with a climactic cliffhanger and this one picks up right where it left off.
MOCKINGJAY is the third book in the popular YA book series by Suzanne Collins. Most readers would agree that this final book was the least popular and at times hardest to endure addition. While THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE were expertly written and riveting, MOCKINGJAY seemed forced and boring. Fans were pleasantly surprised when the first MOCKINGJAY film was so powerful and explosive. It is arguably the better of the movie versions. That fact makes part two highly anticipated.
Part 2 begins with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) licking her wounds which came at the hands of Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). Once allies and the couple all districts fell in love with Peeta was kidnapped and brainwashed by the capital in Part 1 to hate Katniss. This bit of distraction has not stopped Everdeen who is still the leader of the rebellion and the girl on fire has set her sites on destroying President Snow (Donald Sutherland). This will take infiltrating the Capitol, hunting down, and murdering Snow.
This is a very fitting tribute to the franchise and one which fans will revel in and enjoy. There is plenty of action and Hunger Game style challenges. But also there is a palpable element of emotion. Many issues are coming to a close and Katniss, Peeta, and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) have to figure out where they fit in this overall scheme. For the moment they need to trust President Alma Coin (Julianna Moore) as she leads the rebellion but always keeping their eyes on the objective.
The film somehow takes the mediocre text of the book and elevates it to a top notch film. Maybe the action elements on screen fail to sizzle on the page. Normally it is the opposite. We are used to saying that the film, "is never as good as the book" when it comes to movie adaptations. But as we witnessed in Part 1, this one certainly sizzles.
There is of course a twinge of sadness the moment that Plutarch Heavensbee's (Philip Seymour Hoffman) face emerges the first time. Hoffman's death still weighs heavy on our hearts and he is horribly missed. There was a collective sigh as we all felt the impact of the reminder. The supporting cast includes familiar characters like Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci).
If you have never read the books but only amerced yourself in the movie franchise you will engage with this one from the first frame. As the final conflict draws near it pulls you closer and closer to the edge of your seat. The twist and turns are heart wrenching and intense. If you have read the books and know the outcome it will be awesome to see it all flesh out in front of you.
This is not a perfect film nor is it without a few holes and frustrating story arcs. The relationship triangle with Peeta, Katniss, and Gale is often too "Twilight" in nature. Granted not as eye rolling and stomach turning as the Edward vs. Jacob fiasco but sadly Katniss does channel Bella one too many times in her finicky bouncing from guy to guy. Also they set up impossible scenarios that Katniss and her squad seem to overcome easily. There is a lot to squeeze in to the 137 minutes so often it feels like really cool moments are sped by too quickly.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material. Obviously if this is on your radar you have seen the three prior flicks. This one is not nearly as visually assaulting as the earlier films which had kids killing kids. This one is more on the dramatic side and the violence and action more war like. I give it 3.75 out of 5 white roses. It is successful end to what has been a long anticipated finale.
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