A trainwreck of an Ending
What the hell happened to this series? Oh wait, I know. Corporate greed is what happened. I've talked about this in the past, and it is certainly rears its ugly head here. This film is extremely disappointing, and upcoming I'll give you a spoiler-free version of why I have fallen out of love for The Hunger Games. No dawdling around here, guys. Let's go.
Let's get the elephant out of the room first. There's absolutely no reason the final book of this franchise needed to be split up into two parts. Absolutely none. Part one was awful, (leading me to pledge to never watch part one of a two-part finale ever again) as it was mostly just setup for part two. So, what do we get in part two? More setup! This film is about 45 minutes too long out of its 137 minute runtime. Combine that with the fact that part one was about 90 minutes too long out of its 123 minute runtime and, what's this? You have yourself one film? Well, why make one good film when you can capitalize on the popularity of the franchise and make two bad films? Double the money, right? God....movies aren't supposed to be like video games! The movie distributors are actually supposed to have respect for the content they are paying to create. But not here. Not in the young adult genre. Here, it's all about money. It's shameful, and it really brings down what could've been a good last film. And before you say I'm just hating on The Hunger Games, I'm not. The first two parts of this franchise are two of my favorite films in this otherwise typically disastrous genre. Catching Fire is actually my favorite film of any young adult novel-turned film out there. (Which includes all the Harry Potter films, mind you. A series that I've read/seen multiple times.) But these last two films have driven the franchise to the ground. Even more so than the two-part finale we got of Harry Potter 7, because while part one was dreadful, part two at least had quite a few satisfying payoffs. Mockingjay, Part 2 had one satisfying moment. A couple minutes of awesomeness does not forgive 4+ hours and $20+ in movie tickets of setup. It simply doesn't.
Now let's do a spoiler-free talk of the story and everything else. It's no secret that the Mockingjay book is widely considered the most disappointing book of the franchise. So the crew was definitely starting in the hole. One of the reasons I really enjoyed this series before these last two films was it actually investigated the world and made analogies to ours. There was a discussion, albeit a shallow one, about propaganda and the power of the people. While we still get some of it here, as this series has gone on the overall impact of character's actions have been felt less and less. And there are way too many huge things that happen in this film that get either a single line to explain why they are there (or happened) or no lines at all. It makes Mockingjay, Part 2 easily the most shallow film of the franchise. It's amazing that this many corners would STILL be cut in a two-part finale. And yes, characters die. But they die in horribly confusing/not even remotely emotional ways. It left me confused and saying, "That's it?" at several moments in this film. And the acting? The acting, with the exception of Josh Hutcherson who is actually pretty good, is dismal. Jennifer Lawrence was simply going through the motions, and no one else besides Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth (who is the official "hunk" of this film) is given anywhere near enough screen time to make any sort of impression. There's about 10 recognizable actors who are clearly only in this film for the paycheck. I mean who can blame them, right? However nowhere is this more depressing than the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This was his last film, and he only has a couple of moments throughout the entire thing, including one spot towards the end that he really should've been featured in. I really feel the filmmakers should've treated his final role with more respect than they did, (I mean have you seen Boulevard? Or Furious 7? That's how you treat someone's final performance with respect) but that's just me.
But there were a few redeeming features of this film. First off, let's go back to PSH's underwhelming role. His only major moment occurred at the beginning of the film, and it was a well-executed and tender exchange between him and Lawrence. There was also an underground scene with our main characters that was actually somewhat nerve-wracking due to its serious sense of confinement. And the final "climatic" moment was well-shot. All 140 seconds of it. But that's pretty much it. I really can't think of any other redeeming qualities for this film. Everything else really really irked me, like....ok, here's an example of what I'm talking about. If you think this is a spoiler then you're just silly. There's supposedly this big invasion of the capital that occurs. So remember the big battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter 7.5 that was awesome? I sure do. Do we get any shots AT ALL of this supposedly HUGE invasion here? Nope! We just get a squad walking through totally deserted/bland streets. The set designers couldn't even be bothered to add personality to the supposedly great city by spicing up the buildings. Every street looked EXACTLY the same. And the sound designers couldn't even be bothered to add gunfire in the distance most of the time. As far as I could tell, Jennifer Lawrence and company were invading the capital single-handily. SERIOUSLY? Well done, guys. You done goofed. Anyway, I'm done. At one time this series was awesome. And if they had made Mockingjay one film it probably still would've been the most disappointing of the franchise, but at least it wouldn't have been a complete trainwreck. But nope! Corporate greed takes the day. Please don't be stupid like me and see this film in theaters. It'll be out on Netflix eventually I promise. (I actually do feel legitimately guilty about giving this film $10 to see it. That's how bad it was.)
The Critique: A disaster of a film, Mockingjay, Part 2 disservices the franchise while showcasing corporate greed at its finest.
The Recommendation: Don't see this in films. Netflix it. Please dear God Netflix it.
The Verdict: 3/10 Bad.