The Best and Worst of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2"
Katniss' swan song was so gigantic it took two full films to handle. But how did the final adventure of the kids from District 12 stack up?
Hitfix's team took stock of the last Hunger Games film. Overall - we liked it a lot. But digging a bit deeper, here are our highs and our lows.
And SPOILER ALERT! This is meant to be read AFTER seeing the movie. Proceed at your own risk
BEST: Jennifer LawrencePhoto Credit:
So-called "bad-ass" heroes with no dimension are a pet peeve of mine, but in Lawrence's hands Katniss never feels one-note. She's a reluctant hero from first frame to last, and that tension between the tough and the vulnerable caps off beautifully here. - Chris Eggertsen
BEST: Giving supporting players their momentsPhoto Credit:
That kiss between Effie and Haymitch! Eldon Henson's silent goodbye to his brother! Gale's quiet crumble after Katniss gives him that final seething "Goodbye, Gale"! Philip Seymour Hoffman's "I saw that one coming" smile! Jena Malone's twitchy smugness! The thing that's clear here is that "The Hunger Games" understands the value of letting a supporting player step forward for just the right moment. - Drew McWeeny
BEST: The ending is a genuine tearjerkerPhoto Credit: Lion's Gate
Unlike most of their YA contemporaries, the "Hunger Games" films boast an undercurrent of real human feeling, and this comes to a head in "Mockingjay - Part 2" during a snot-drenched scene involving a cat and some tossed dishware. The moment caught me off guard with its pure emotional power. - Chris Eggertsen
WORST: The lack of artistic riskPhoto Credit: Lion's Gate
There's an overarching "tastefulness" (stuffiness?) at work here that holds the finale (and all the films, really) from reaching the heights they could have given a bolder, riskier choice of director. In fairness, Lionsgate wasn't going for great art, they were intent on playing to the rafters -- and Francis Lawrence and Gary Ross served that end-game more than adequately. Still, it's hard not to think there's a more artistically satisfying version of these films. - Chris Eggertsen
BEST: It subverts the YA tropesPhoto Credit: Lion's Gate
There's some YA weakness, as studios race to catch the formula that was so successful for the likes of "Twilight." What "Hunger Games" fans will discover in this final entry is that Suzanne Collins set each one of those tropes up -- the messiah-like figure, the love triangle, the battle between good and evil -- only to entirely, and gloriously, subvert them in the final entry. - Roth Cornet
BEST: It opens the door to a conversationPhoto Credit: Lion's Gate
The greatest accomplishment that a franchise like "The Hunger Games" can claim is that it sparks conversation that adolescents may not otherwise have. At the end of the day, this is a series about propaganda and the packaging and selling of violence. If kids, and even adults, use this film as a platform for discussion, then it's more than done its job. - Roth Cornet
WORST: Tacky CGIPhoto Credit: Lion's Gate
"Mockingjay - Part 2" falls down during its special effects sequences, particularly an extended setpiece that sees Katniss and company being stalked by "Mutts" through underground tunnels The wolf-like creatures are digital creations lacking in soul -- a problem which plagues too many big-budget franchise films -- and the effect takes you out of the film when you should be immersed in it. - Chris Eggertsen
BEST: It doesn't soften the source materialPhoto Credit: Lion's Gate
There are a few key moments that fans of this book series feared may be removed from the final film. They were not. Lionsgate allowed "The Hunger Games," all told, to stand as a story that -- for the most part -- doesn't default to neatly tied together happy endings. - Roth Cornet
WORST: The characters are slightly watered downPhoto Credit: Lion's Gate
It's inevitable that you'll lose some nuance in an adaptation. In the case of "The Hunger Games," the series of novels is told from Katniss' point of view, which provides the reader with a very intimate understanding of her nature. Some of the character's flaws and hard edges are lost in the film series, where she is a more of a traditional heroine. But, that has its virtues as well. - Roth Cornet