The Hunger Games franchise has so far grossed more than US$2.2 billion at the global box office. It is based upon the runaway success of the novel trilogy by Suzanne Collins, which was released between 2008 and 2010. Mockingjay Part 2 is the fourth and final movie in the series (the first came out in 2012 and one has followed each year since).
The yarn picks up with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) back in the bunkers of District 13, still unable to emotionally reach a brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). She watches the nation of Panem slide into full-scale apocalyptic war. Though Everdeen has warily accepted her role as the Mockingjay, the symbol of rebellion and hope, she can see that it is going take more than symbolism to turn the tide. She has her heart set on a face-to-face confrontation with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) as all Districts band together, united against the Capitol for the first time. Teamed with some of her closest confidantes, Everdeen embarks on a mission to liberate all citizens and assassinate the President who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. So, the power struggle continues in this fight to the death. President Snow’s iron fisted control is under severe threat and he knows it. Looking to take his place is District 13’s steely leader, President Coin (Julianne Moore), but it seems like power is starting to go to her head.
A long-winded, even laborious opening gives way to a more engaging, if rather dark, conclusion in which Everdeen will, finally, choose between the two loves of her life. It is a role that Lawrence has made her own and once again she doesn’t disappoint, displaying strength and resolve as the pivotal character in spite of the fact that she is targeted and injured several times.
Josh Hutcherson, as Mellark, is more of a shell here for a significant proportion of the film, having been “got to” by the rulers of Panem who have turned him into a real threat to Everdeen. Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne is, as ever, respectful and loyal to a fault. He knows his place in the pecking order. All the usual suspects, namely the likes of Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Stanley Tucci, are back for what amount to extended cameo roles.
The story isn’t always the easiest to follow, but a number of special effects sequences impress (such as one involving oil overtaking the Capitol as the rebellion gains momentum), along with orchestrated explosions and obliteration.
Mockingjay Part 2 is again directed by Francis Lawrence, who has helmed the last three chapters. Part 1 disappointed because it was nowhere near as alluring as the opening two, but the final salvo is stronger, if only marginally. Rated M, it scores a 6½ to 7 out of 10.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Stanley Tucci
Release Date: 19 November 2015
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television