The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts, 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.

 

Director: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci

Rated: PG-13 (thematic elements, language and some sexuality)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

By Matt Greene

Hunger Games is like the popular kid at school: good-looking, smart enough to pass, stands out in a crowd without being unique, and manages not to be boring even without much personality. This has made most of these films unremarkable, yet still very likable and, at times, even lovable. With Mockingjay – Part 2, we are given much of these same traits, notably the great political commentary, reminders of our own power-hungry ruling systems. Unfortunately, though, the ever-earnest saga of the Girl On Fire goes out with more of a fizzle than a blaze of glory.

In this final Panem revolution movement, Katniss and her band of misfit do-gooders have found a way to infiltrate the Capital, hoping to take down the malevolent President Snow. It’s easy to root for these guys as they encounter Hunger-Games-esque obstacles and puzzles along their way, each set-piece nicely staged and appropriately thrilling. Unfortunately, those moments only take up about 40 minutes of a 2+ hour film; otherwise, we’re subjected to the movie’s humorless disposition, which focuses hard on the purposeless love triangle, whose only existence is seemingly to get teenage girls all in a tizzy.

Worst of all, as a stark defender of Mockingjay – Part 1 and its presence as a stand-alone film, I was sorely let down that so little of consequence really occurs in most of Part 2. Not that I need end-to-end action or constant twists and turns; however, if your movie is so covered in dialogue as this one is, it should be colorful, incisive, or at least entertaining. Instead, it’s just vapid and boring, keeping this successfully diverting franchise from ending on the engrossing note it often hit.

2.5 out of 5 Stars

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

By Cole Schneider

The Hunger Games have been the most successful films of the post-Harry Potter YA fiction explosion. The first three films have all found a way to mesh Hollywood entertainment with larger ideas. The original “Hunger Games” commented on celebrity and consumer culture and its sequel, “Catching Fire” also looked at reality TV culture and media hysteria before “Mockingjay Part 1” turned its gaze to PTSD and propaganda.

Through it all, the constant, more subtle social-glue has been the biting feminist undertones from its protagonist. Katniss isn’t simply a “strong female character” in the reductionist way the term has come to mean; she completely inverts gender-norms, smashing expectations of past generations and molding them for today’s young ladies. Katniss is written as a typical male hero would be written: she’s a fighter, confident, instinctual, stubborn, and burdened with existential angst and alienation.

There has always been a love-triangle element to the series, but the men are the more effeminate characters and they yearn after her. Peeta bakes, paints, and is small-framed. Gale shows his affection by dutifully watching over her family while Katniss fights.

“Mockingjay Part 2” spends its first hour-and-a-half toiling in indecision. It’s messy thematic focus (it relives previous themes and also introduces new topics like refugee treatment, but never commits to the exploration of anything instead leaving each idea half-baked) is coupled with a lack of narrative propulsion and several retread “character moments”. The result is woefully boring.

Eventually the plot catches up, but as soon as that happens we’re hit with an epilogue that reinforces the exact gender-stereotypes the series has so carefully worked in opposition against. The independent Katniss becomes the same female character familiar from other movies.

2 out of 5 Stars

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