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‘Hunger Games’ Ends on a Whimper

Mockingjay_Part_2_PosterThey say all good things must end. In the case of the “Hunger Games” franchise, the mediocre must finish, as well.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” (gosh, that is a pain to type) is the fourth and final film in the “Hunger Games” franchise (until they decide to give it a prequel/sequel/reboot, because, money). It again stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant face of a revolution. She must lead the remaining rebels on one final assault against the corrupt Capital, led by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). The film also stars Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Philip Seymour Hoffman (in his final role) and Francis Lawrence directs.

Unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoyed “Mockingjay – Part 1.” I thought all the behind-the-scenes political and propaganda of a revolution was very interesting, and thought it was building up to something great. I was wrong, though…

The biggest problem with “Mockingjay – Part 2” is that it really feels like an unnecessary movie. Hollywood has this notion that the final book of a series needs to be broken up into two movies, but in reality it does nothing but add a few extra hundred million dollars into their pockets. Harry Potter was able to get away with it because everyone loved that series, but Part 1 was arguably the worst film of the franchise. I only saw Part 2 of Twilight’s finales, but I really doubt those are books with enough content to break into multiple films. And of course The Hobbit was a 300 page book broken into three overlong films that really no one wanted, but each made over $900 million, so Hollywood is just laughing at us. But I’m getting off track.

Much of “Mockingjay – Part 2” feels like forced dialogue or action for the sake of action, both to try and justify a second film (it clocks in at an inexcusable 137 minutes). Some of the fight sequences are appreciated and well-done; there are tiny nuggets throughout the film that are what have made the “Hunger Games” series fun, or what we have been promised. But all too often the film is just walking around and repeating plot points, like how they don’t know if they can trust Peeta because he is still brainwashed by the Capital. That is a topic of conversation about seven times.

Lawrence is again the star of the show, but Katniss is again a borderline unlikable heroine that you really don’t care about her besides the fact she’s Jennifer Lawrence. Woody Harrelson and Philip Seymour Hoffman (RIP) give two short but nuanced performances, and some of the revolution storylines are interesting.

It really is hard (and in a way, pointless) to review a film like this because you likely won’t see it if you haven’t seen the other ones in the series, and if you have seen those films then you already know if you’re going to see it or not. So if you were planning on seeing “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” then you should know there is a lot of sitting around, then a lot of running, and almost none of it is interesting. By the time (I thought) the film was wrapping up it really drags on, and well outwears any welcome the previous films had bought it.

It is a disappointing ending to a decent franchise, and I seeing as its Thanksgiving week, let’s just say I’m thankful I won’t have to endure any more of this overstretched series next November.

Critics Rating: 4/10

Mockingjay_Part_2
Variety
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