Mockingjay Part 2: A Review
The climatic showdown to the remarkable dystopian series is fuelled by kick ass performances and explosive war scenes.
Mockingjay Part Two picks up on its predecessor’s cliff-hanger ending. As the war of Panem escalates, the rebels begin to storm the Capitol’s walls. Reluctant leader Katniss Everdeen, along with her Unit fight their way through the Capitol’s streets. However, President Snow plucks off main characters by his sick ‘pods’ that he has planted to kill rebels, specifically the girl on fire. With Katniss and her Unit being the Capitol’s most wanted fugitives, they battle onwards in their mission to reach President Snow’s mansion so that Katniss can kill him.
Mockingjay Part Two is an intriguing, insightful look into the disastrous consequences of war on teenagers, with them having to deal with gruesome deaths and human brutality at shocking levels. But, this film, above all else, highlights that the smallest amount of hope can overcome any evil, with the rebellion sprouting from when Katniss and Peeta refused to die in The Hunger Games.
Mockingjay Part Two is full of emotionally draining scenes that are stunningly shot by Francis Lawrence. These tender moments amidst the chaos of the war of Panem are a beautiful reminder that humanity is still evident even when it’s hard to see it.
The talented array of actors in Mockingjay Part Two set this film apart from similar dystopian YA Blockbusters.
Jennifer Lawrence returns as the spunky, straight-faced Katniss Everdeen. Jennifer Lawrence is as powerful as ever in her role, with her having the ability to communicate with her audience with only the use of facial expressions. Unlike the previous films in the franchise, Katniss is easier to sympathise with due to her helpless situation. As President Coin (Julianne Moore) uses her as ultimately, a propaganda pawn in an entirely new game, Katniss is limited to the amount of action she can encounter.
Up to Mockingjay Part Two, the audience has only ever witnessed Katniss as strong, collected and brave. The final instalment offers a new side to Katniss, that isn’t evident in the first three films. Finally, she is able to fully break down, with the emotional turmoil being too much. J-Law’s stand out performance is when this happens, with her being truly faultless when portraying Katniss’ crazy outburst. As an audience, it’s extremely easy to become desensitised because of the sheer amount of barbaric attacks from the Capitol, Katniss’ meltdown re-enforces the devastation and acts as a reminder to the audience that the war is hard to stomach. Her screaming breakdown is cathartic, with it being just what the viewer needs.
Josh Hutcherson comes into his own during Mockingjay Part Two, as the Capitol’s latest ‘mutt.’ Corrupted by the Capitol, the once too-sweet Peeta Mellark has a wounded and dangerous side which is intriguing but deeply distressing.
Hutcherson has a compelling charm and is truly electrifying when paired with Jennifer Lawrence. The pair have a natural chemistry that really drives the ‘will they, won’t they’ storyline forward. Refreshingly, Mellark’s character is not outshone by Katniss unlike the previous films, with him being the voice of reason. His performance, is as ever, strikingly good with him delving into a new side of Peeta being incredibly sincere.
Minor actors are as brilliant as the leading actors. Donald Sutherland (President Snow) is the perfect dictator. He is ruthless, sinister and evil, with him picturing death as nothing important. Sam Claflin (Finnick) shines, with his cheeky charm and dazzling smile luring the audience in to fall in love with him. A surprise appearance from late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch) is unexpected but fantastic. Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) and Elizabeth Banks (Effie) are as perfect a duo as ever, with their humour and differing personalities being outrageously fun, adding a little light to awful situations.
However, not all the actors pull off a convincing performance with Liam Hemsworth being a big let-down. His lack of chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence is evident, even during the tender moments between his character Gale and Katniss. His performance is almost robotic, with him giving the audience no raw emotion or gut-wrenching power. It appears to the viewer that he doesn’t want to be there, and this ensures he sticks out like a sore thumb.
Irrelevant scenes are overly elongated while more interesting or touching scenes are often neglected by Lawrence. This really lets the film down as the grimness of the situation is often illuminated during action scenes which are too rushed and confusing for the audience.
Unfortunately, Francis Lawrence decided to incorporate the book’s epilogue. Although a very touching ending to the film, the scene before the epilogue is far more gritty and heart-warming, as it shows Katniss willing herself to admit whom she loves. By keeping in the epilogue, it completely changes the ending, making it appear quite corny and clichéd.
“You love me, real or not real?” – “Real.”
The dramatic climax to The Hunger Games series is an emotional roller-coaster, which ferociously highlights the extent of war and shows that when united, anything is possible.