The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Written By Peter Craig and Danny Strong
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizebeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Jeffery Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Dormer, Donald Sutherland, and Philip Seymour Hoffman

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” follows up last year’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” “Part 2” picks up right where “Part 1″ left off. Well, of course, that is why the title contains the part two in the title. But much like how the fatal flaw of ” Part 1″ was that it was the first part of this story. Instead of setting up the third part of “The Hunger Games” story, which I would have been fine with, “Part 1” felt like it was the first part of a new story. “Part 2,” to its credit, feels like the second part of the narrative started in the first part. The flaw of “Part 2” was that the second half of this story did not need a separate movie, it was too weak. A lot of “Part 2” was overly bloated and could have, and should have, been condensed and placed at the end of “Part 1.” The important pieces in “Part 2” could have been placed onto the end of “Part 1,” but thanks to “Harry Potter” when you have a tent pole franchise with box-office cachet that means you have to split the last movie into two parts.

In keeping with the other installments of the franchise “Mockingjay – Part 2” is elevated by the performances of the outstanding cast. First and foremost Jennifer Lawrence proves, yet again, that she is one of the best, if not the best, young talent currently working in Hollywood. Lawrence, with all the weight her name now carries, she could have easily phoned in her performance on this one. Think Sean Connery in “Diamond’s Are Forever.” Lawrence does not phone in, she fully brings it, see that scene at the end with the cat. What elevates not only this movie but elevated the other films in the franchise, is the supporting cast. With names like Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Elizebeth Banks, and the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman. When the supporting cast packs that kind of talent, who can you go wrong?

The biggest credit to “Mockingjay – Part 2” is that it retains the element that elevated “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay – Part 1” over “The Hunger Games,” director Francis Lawrence. What Francis Lawrence did that allowed him to raise the bar for the series was placing a heavier focus on the sociopolitical subtext. That subtext is front and center in “Part 2”, as it was in “Part 1” and had started to show in “Catching Fire.” Aside from focusing on the subtext the underlies the series; Francis Lawrence directed the movie well. Apart from the aforementioned cat scene, there is also a tense, thrilling scene that takes place in the Capitol’s sewers. This scene is not only the best scene in the movie, but it feels a lot like Ridley Scott’s “Alien.”

Overall, “Mockingjay – Part 2” was a good watch and a satisfying end to the franchise. “Part 2” is well-directed and contains not one bad performance. Although, the movie is bloated, and they probably should have put it at the end of the first part and made that a three and a half hour movie. The narrative would have benefited from making it one movie.

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