Certificate 12A, 137 minutes
Director: Francis Lawrence
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
At the beginning of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is recovering from Peeta's (Josh Hutcherson) attempt to strangle her, although her throat is not in the best condition. The surviving Victors of the previous Hunger Games had been rescued from the Capital in events of the previous film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, but Peeta had been tortured and brainwashed during his captivity - "hijacked" - into thinking Katniss was the enemy and that he had to kill her. Peeta is still more than a little mentally unstable.
The Districts have now almost completely fallen behind, or to, the rebels, but there is a major fortress still left in District 2 which needs capturing or neutralising before the attack on the Capital can really begin, for there are too many weapons and Peacekeepers in it to leave it alone, so Katniss volunteers to go to the front to help inspire the troops and see if she can talk the Loyalist forces into surrendering.
The leader of District 13 and the rebellion, President Coin (Julianne Moore, Non-Stop), is beginning to see Katniss as a potential threat. Coin would appear to be already planning for the future after President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capital are defeated. One the fortress in District 2 is taken out of the picture, she says that Katniss doesn't need to be at the front any longer, and that she's to remain behind in District 13 and film any propaganda videos from there, rather than at the actual scene of battle.
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Instead of remaining in District 13, Katniss goes to the Capital, against Coin's orders, with the intent of assassinating President Snow personally. When she finds out about this, Coin is quick to spin it so that Katniss always appears to be acting under her orders, rather than doing anything independently, for Katniss is still a useful figurehead, although not as much she used to be.
With Katniss in the Capital, Coin wants her actions filmed, so a special group of soldiers, including Finnick (Sam Claflin), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and a still rather unstable Peeta, who could be just as much of a threat as anything the capital is sending against them, as well as her film team, Cassida (Natalie Dormer) and the brothers Castor (Wes Chatham) and Pollux (Elden Henson), accompany her. They are not to be on the front lines of the combat in the Capital, just to follow along behind and film what happens, but just because they aren't at the actual front does not make the city remotely safe to traverse.
This film is cantered much more around the actions of Katniss Everdeen, as the original books were, as they were narrated from her perspective, unlike the previous films in the series, which showed many events that had happened "off camera" but which were mentioned in the novels. As a consequence of this, most of the characters other than Katniss, such as Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), do not play as much of a role, unless they are actually accompanying Katniss at any particular time, especially on her journey through the Capital, which is a shame, as there are some interesting characters there who could have done with more screen time.
The original Mockingjay book was split into two films, but there was no really apparent reason why this was done, as the final book in the trilogy is not significantly longer than the first two books - it's roughly the same size as the other two. This splitting has resulted in the second part of Mockingjay losing quite a lot of pace - this is quite a slow film, apart from the mad dash in the Capital. This may the climax to the series, but the pace is slow enough that it doesn't feel as climactic as it should. Yes, there is a lot more of the novel included in the film by splitting it into two, but that could have been done for the first two films as well, and, although a single film would have been much shorter than the two parts of the final book, that could have been a much faster and better paced conclusion to the series.
The film is available in both 2D and 3D, with the 3D version being the one watched. This is a live action film, and one with not that much action, apart from the journey through the trapped Capital by Katniss and her party, and little in the way of computer generated effects, so the 3D does not add a lot to it, as much of the film is spent quite close to the actors. There are a couple of impressive scenes where the 3D is noticeable, where they are shot from such distance away, but the up close and personal, as well as slower paced and based around character interaction, nature of most of the film means that the 3D does not play a significant role.
Overall, the film does stay pretty close to the book. There is one notable difference - a couple of scenes in which Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman, A Most Wanted Man) was supposed appear in were altered or removed due to the suicide of Philip Seymour Hoffman before they were filmed, but this is not something there was a lot of choice over. Fortunately, two of the most pivotal events of the film which occur close to the end have not been changed; the second event was dependent on the first, and without them happening, the film would have had a significantly different outcome to the novels, so it's a relief that they weren't altered to make the film happier - and make no mistake, Mockingjay - Part 2, is quite a grim film, just as the novels are themselves quite grim. The ongoing triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta continues to play a prominent role in he film, and the viewer, if they aren't familiar with the novels, never knows quite how that's going to turn out. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is a decent conclusion to the series, and Jennifer Lawrence does play the role of Katniss Everdeen well, a character who is not as much of a hero as she is sometimes made out to be by those surrounding her, but it could have been better.