Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
Run Time: 137 mins
‘The Hunger Games’ series is extremely strong quality-wise and is easily the best teenage fiction series since ‘Harry Potter’. The first two films in particular were near-perfect and weaved in many social and political commentaries to elevate their quality. The third film, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1′ took a massive nose-dive for the series and all that audiences were left with was a film with build up but no satisfying action. Suzanne Collins’ third book, ‘Mockingjay’ is easily the weakest of the trilogy anyway so it’s understandable why it couldn’t match the first two. Many fans look forward to Part 2 which carries on from Part 1 and culminates into a very satisfying and intense final battle for the future of Panem.
‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2′ is a marked improvement on its predecessor and it very nearly scales the heights of the first two films in the series. It is a heartfelt and satisfying conclusion that makes Part 1 completely redundant and there are many social and political messages embedded throughout. At a time when ISIS terrorise the West, this film couldn’t come at a more ironic time and there are many uncomfortable similarities that both the fictional world created by Suzanne Collins and reality share which culminate in an even more heartfelt watch.
The acting remains as one of the series’ main strengths and Jennifer Lawrence nails the role of Katniss Everdeen again. Sitting most of Part 1 out, Josh Hutcherson has a welcome return and this is probably his most mature performance of the series. The other standouts here are Donald Sutherland who is on great form as Snow again and one of the final scenes of the film with him in it is outstandingly crafted – there isn’t anyone else who could have been as perfect a match as Sutherland is to the role. A lot of the cast are sidelined here unfortunately but the strength of these main performances, along with a sound Liam Hemsworth as Gale, keep the film in check.
The script and set designs are wonderfully crafted and extremely memorable. The battle sequences in particular are particularly well-staged and the film’s ending is very satisfying and rounds off the series nicely. The score by James Newton Howard fits in well, but he hasn’t really recorded too much new material and instead has worked with what he has used before which is still serviceable.
It’s a welcome and unexpected relief that ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’ is a return to form for the franchise. It is able to restore the tone and excitement that the first two shared – it’s just a shame that last year’s prelude to this film had to be so dour. With the franchise being extremely profitable, this film will undoubtedly lead into spin-off’s in the future which hopefully will be of the same quality.