AFTER The Hunger Games franchise announced it was deciding to split its finale into two money-grabbing films I wasn’t hopeful, after the likes of Harry Potter and The Hobbit. I don’t want to stray into too much detail about the plot of the previous film because if you don’t know what’s going on, then I don’t recommend you start watching the final one. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is essentially a political thriller about a group of rebel fashion gurus debating which hat Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) would look the most persuasive in. Presumably the book was divided into two films so it could feature more action-packed moments like if Katniss will read the speech her stylist prepared, will she save her sister’s cat, and surely Katniss won’t carry on using a bow and arrow in a warzone, will she? Also, why does every dystopian society seem to have more people with partially shaved hairstyles?
Luckily, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 returns with actual thrills. Thankfully Katniss ignores advice to rest, and rallies the troops against the Capitol so we get to see some action. This is not just mindless explosions however. The plot remains character driven, and the deaths are, mostly, unexpected. Katniss is more likeable in this film as she is less the disobedient teenager of the first films and more the battle-hardened warrior the Games have turned her into. While the iconic arena doesn’t return (although they will do in the prequels, announced late last year), President Snow (Donald Sutherland) retreats his men and sets traps with Big Brother-style cameras reminiscent of the first film. Questionable battle tactics, but it makes for good fun. If there’s anything I’ve learned, in a military situation you should make sure to chit-chat. The more witty lines you get in, the less likely you will stumble into a landmine or social etiquette will require you to sacrifice yourself for the hero.
Being the last film, you would expect a rosy, good-guy-beats-bad-guy ending, but Mockingjay – Part 2 manages to pull off a very satisfying conclusion, with many twists along the way. Despite a running length of 137 minutes, I never found myself tired. The acting is solid by all cast members – especially Josh Hutcherson who is very convincing as a mentally deranged Peeta (yes, that’s really how it’s spelled) and Jennifer Lawrence is great, as always.
For those of you who lost faith in the Hunger Games series after Mockingjay – Part 1, I would urge you to watch this thoroughly enjoyable, gripping ending to the saga. 8/10