Nothing can prepare you for the end.
Lionsgate’s use of that sentence as the tagline for the last film of the highly successful film series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 hits the nail directly on the head.
The last film of The Hunger Games series takes the audience on an emotional roller-coaster with twists and surprises that I guarantee will have you jumping out of your seat and crying at least 3 times. Francis Lawrence has definitely saved the best for last.
Anyone who has read the final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy knows that Mockingjay is a very action packed book and director Francis Lawrence has managed to capture that perfectly and then some. It’s safe to say that both Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2 captured their respective halves of the book. That being said, I promise that I will try my utmost to avoid spoilers, but if I do mention any footage it will be only what has been shown in trailers or TV spots.
The opening scene in Mockingjay Part 2 is a natural extension of the final scene of Mockingjay Part 1 and right off the bat, we get this sense of seriousness of the film. I know I mentioned it in my review of Mockingjay Part 1 but I have to reiterate, the musical score in the background of each scene is something magical. The musical genius of James Newton Howard, the composer of the musical scores for all four of the films in the series, is what ties everything together so perfectly. We have an amazing cast, director and producers who are all fans of the books and what they have done is tell an important story beautifully.
While the entire cast of Mockingjay Part 1 returns, we do see some new faces join the already familiar cast. In Mockingjay Part 2, we’re introduced to several new characters. Gwendoline Christie joins the cast as Commander Lyme, the rebel leader in District 2 and I have to confess I wish we had seen more of her. The rest of Squad 451 is also introduced in this film, Michelle Forbes as Lieutenant Jackson, Omid Abtahi as Homes and Misty and Kim Ormiston as the Leegs.
Aside from being introduced to new characters, we are also introduced to new locations in Panem. In the first three films, we only see glimpses of the exterior of Capitol buildings or only the interior of the Training Center or President Snow’s mansion. But in Mockingjay Part 2, we see the interior of a few of the homes of the Capitol residents and the scale of the Capitol itself.
The tone of this film is much more serious than any of the others since we see the main characters participating in the war against the Capitol. Unlike Mockingjay Part 1, this film doesn’t have as many comedic relief moments. Yes, there are a few moments here and there where the audience laughs, but the laughs don’t last very long. As I said in the beginning of the article, this movie is a roller-coaster of emotions, ranging from happy feels like during Annie and Finnick’s wedding, to anger at the Capitol, from fear to heartbreak (I’m not saying who dies but prepare yourselves). As of now, I’ve seen the movie twice and when I left the movie theater all I could think was how I was/am not ready for this journey to be over.
As most of us know, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who played the role of Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee, passed away before filming was completed for Mockingjay Part 2. There was much speculation as to how the remainder of his scenes would be done or if they would be removed completely. I’m happy to report that the way his storyline ended was done very well and in the context of the film it made sense.
The film constantly has you on the edge of your seat, and even for those of us who’ve read the books, we keep wondering what’s going to happen next not only with the parts where you feel something’s going to jump out of the screen at you but also the heartbreaking, tear jerking (and by tear jerking I mean full on crying) moments. During one of the action scenes I was hoping that there a certain someone would make it up the ladder safely with everyone else, even though I already knew what would happen.
I think the best part about the film is the ending. All along, we’ve known that The Hunger Games was not a series that would end in happily ever after. But the way the film ended, was as it should. Without going into details that would be major movie spoilers I can say that it was perfect. I say the ending was perfect because, yes Peeta and Katniss remake their lives but they remake their lives in a way that is realistic to two people who have been through what they have. It is a bittersweet ending, but fitting to the series.
Francis Lawrence somehow managed to bring to life the world Suzanne Collins wrote about in her books and then took it to a completely different level. He took the books and incorporated as much of the actual dialogue into the films as he could. The changes, omissions and additions that he made to the films only added a whole other layer of depth and insight to the world of Panem and the characters we’ve come to know and love. Unlike other book to movie adaptations, the changes made to the last three films make sense, the changes weren’t made just on a whim.
These amazing films that brought to life an equally amazing and inspiring story have been a part of us for these past 3 years and it’s definitely hard to say goodbye.
In the words of Caesar Flickerman, “We have never seen anything like this and we will never see anything like it again.”