The final chapter in the Hunger Games saga ‘Mockingjay – Part 2’ is a fitting send off to the iconic heroine Katniss Everdeen. The main ingredient in the success of this YA dystopian adventure is actress Jennifer Lawrence. She perfectly captures the reluctant hero with a blend of stoic bravery and sweet vulnerability. In ‘Mockingjay – Part 2,’ the transformation is complete. During the games, Katniss was paraded around the Capitol in glamour outfits and has now progressed to wearing a battle black uniform for the ultimate fight against the totalitarian regime Panem. The Hunger Games franchise mirrors Lawrence’s meteoric rise from indie darling at Sundance in 2010 for ‘Winter’s Bone’ to becoming one of the most powerful female actresses in Hollywood with her Best Actress Oscar win for 2012’s ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’
It’s okay that they split up the film in two parts. The same was done with the ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’ franchises. ‘Mockingjay – Part 2,’ was worth the wait. Our heroine Katniss has returned to finish business. She’s not just a symbol of hope for the propaganda machine. She must join forces with her rebel fighters and take down President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and his evil regime. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been rescued and is dealing with a bad case of post traumatic stress disorder. President Coin (Julianne Moore) is the leader of the rebellion with her razor sharp bobbed haircut and her adviser Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The brief scenes with Hoffman are bittersweet. He died of an overdose during the production. They have a heated debate about using Katniss as a martyr.
Once the talking is done, it is time to plan a military style assault on the Capitol’s impenetrable fortress. Katniss is reunited with her loyal crew of rebel fighters including her hunting buddy Gale (Liam Hemsworth), the charming Finnick O’Dair (Sam Claflin), the tattooed warrior Cressida (Natalie Dormer) and the gung-ho soldier Boggs (Mahershala Ali). For audiences wanting action, ‘Part 2’ never disappoints. Katniss declares that she wants to assassinate President Snow. In order to get to him at his palatial mansion, her special ops team must avoid several “pods” scattered throughout the city. They are booby traps that can unleash fire, bombs, machine guns and a gooey black tar. Director Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer) keeps the suspense tight as Katniss gets closer to her target. When they go underground and maneuver through a maze of sewers, a swarm of fast-moving mutant creatures attack them. It is a frightening white-knuckle sequence.
What would the story be like without the love triangle? Both Gale and Peeta (once he snaps out of his funk) pine for Katniss’ affections again. Don’t expect any sex scenes in The Hunger Games. It was never intended to be like the romantic ‘Twilight’ series. There is a scene where the boys talk about their love for her but she has bigger things to worry about like liberating a nation from tyranny. Unfortunately, some of the other regular characters get little screen time like Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and television host Caesar (Stanley Tucci). That’s okay since this is Katniss’ final journey. Young female moviegoers can easily relate to her. Lawrence never makes Katniss a stereotype. One moment she can shoot down an enemy aircraft with an arrow and the next moment steal a kiss from one of the boys. Now that’s girl power!
Without giving anything away, the ending is stretched a bit but for diehard Hunger Games fans, they will applaud during the closing credits. Lawrence has taken Katniss as far as she can go and readers of the Suzanne Collins’ trilogy will breathe a sigh of relief that the movie is faithful to the source material. War is not pretty and the final chapter captures the heroine suffering huge losses just like all soldiers do. Lawrence can proudly give the three-fingered Mockingjay salute goodbye to The Hunger Games. She deserves all the credit making this one of the most successful franchises in cinematic history. Check out the official trailer https://youtu.be/n-7K_OjsDCQ.