Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 - Average Joe Review

So, on November 23, 2015, I went to the theater to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2. And this is my review of the movie.

First off, this review is spoiler free. You're welcome.

The pseudo-trilogy that is the Hunger Games has had it's ups (Catching Fire) and downs (ahem, MJ Part 1, ahem), but I think this last installment of the Hunger Games wraps the series quite neatly. Sure, there are still questions, loose ends and the like, but the stories of Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and the others are, in my eyes, complete. However, I think it's important to note that the characters we met in the 74th Annual Hunger Games are far different than the ones who emerge from the war between the Districts and the Capitol.

LOL, that sounded like fan fiction, so formal.

We start out in District 13, right where the first movie left off. A couple hours before the screening, I saw Part 1 to refresh my memory. Where Part 1 finishes, Part 2 begins immediately thereafter. Katniss and her team go on a quest to kill President Snow, and ultimately bring down the Capitol. The acting in this film is quite superb. Some may not care for the dramatic tension that is so essential to MJ Part 2, but I really appreciated it (though it cut into the action, and was a bit too drawn out). If you've read the books, and even if you haven't, you should appreciate the talent of the actors in this movie.

The plot is also well developed, and there are many (familiar, if you've read the books) twists in the film. When Katniss and her team are in the Capitol on their way to kill Snow, they encounter numerous obstacles, pods, the movie calls them, to make "a spectacle out of their deaths". In the books, these were intense, dramatic, nail-biting scenes of action and suspense. In the movie, however, the portrayal of these traps was mediocre, subpar at best. The pseudo-horror genre and feel that these scenes adopt are rather unsettling, but no where near as intense as I felt they should be. Perhaps the filmmakers thought that these scenes should be short and action-packed, but I felt as though there should've been more suspense, and the action could've been drawn out just a bit. Also, there weren't as many of these traps shown in the movie as there could've been, but maybe that might've drawn out the runtime a little too long...

As Katniss and her team (count how many times that phrase has been used in this review!) storm the Capitol and are nearing the President's Mansion, Katniss is overcome by moral dilemma, of right, of wrong, and of justice. I found these an interesting view into the mind of someone whose life had been torn apart by violence and injustice, and the decisions Katniss makes in the end of the film really complete her story arc well.

HOWEVER comma, the ending for MJ Part 2 is dreadfully, snore-inducingly drawn out. Scene after scene rolled by, each one more boring and unnecessary as the last. In the book, if memory serves correctly, it was nowhere near this drawn out. It was a short and bittersweet ending in the print version, but in the movie, unnecessary tying of loose ends led to a meh ending, at BEST.

All in all, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 was a good film, one of the more solid ones of the Hunger Games big-screen adventures (OK, that phrase might've been a little too cliché for this review, LOL), I would think. I give it a 3.7/5, losing out because of the drab ending and a bit too much drama, to put it mildly. Good acting, good plot, all around good movie. However, a lukewarm, un-fulfilling ending to the Hunger Games.