The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 was the only one of the series I missed seeing in the theaters. It’s been a long wait for it to reach a streaming service, but it is at last on Amazon Prime. This film seemingly ends the saga of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her quest to save the world.
I qualify my statement about the end of the saga, because Hollywood seems capable of rebooting almost everything these days. Maybe one of the children we see Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) with at the end of the film will rise up to save the world one more time at some later date.
People who saw this film in theaters were less impressed with it than the earlier movies. I join in that opinion. I credit the lower number of action scenes and special effects (although there were plenty of them) to this feeling of disappointment. There’s a sense that Katniss is older, she’s tired of the struggle. She doesn’t want to get dragged into it again. But, of course, she is.
The pace seemed a bit tired as well, with long pauses in the dialog. The film ran for 2 hours and 15 minutes, which didn’t help the pacing.
The Hunger Games franchise has always been political and topical. This film came out in November 2015, one year before the upcoming Presidential election. The political commentary I’ve loved about The Hunger Games lost its edge in this film. American politics has become bread and circuses, exactly like the The Hunger Games story. That was the strength of the series and the reason why Katniss is such an iconic figure.
The themes of power and corruption are still here, but it is left up to Katniss to distinguish between the various misuses of power exemplified by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and President Coin (Julianne Moore). The choice Katniss made gave the power to the people, but nobody seemed very happy about it.
So many of the characters died off in this struggle. By the end almost none of the characters we loved and rooted for through all the films in the franchise were still standing. The last scene implies that everyone who remains needs to take time to recover from the trauma, to rebuild their own lives and their communities, and to birth a new generation.
If you’ve watched the other The Hunger Games films, you must watch this one as well. To skip it would be like putting down a book without reading the last chapter. Even though this film is a bit worn down with its own weight, Katniss is still a heroine worthy of our admiration and attention.