The split in half Mockingjay has left the Hunger Games starved of the ingenuity that made the first two parts so compelling.
This leaves the franchise that started so spectacularly in 2012 ending with a bit of a whimper instead of a bang – with this particularly ‘serious’ final instalment being only a passable closing to a series that promised so much.
No longer just about survival, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and the rebellion – including a ‘brainwashed’ Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Effie (Elizabeth Banks), Plutarch (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final role) and President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) – engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol, after it destroyed multiple districts in retaliation to the uprising.
But to liberate the citizens of Panem, Katniss must finally confront the power-hungry President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in a deadly final showdown – with the future of the nation at stake.
Despite the film playing out in quite a generic (and sometimes choppily edited) fashion, it does just about enough to bring these adaptations of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novels to a satisfying close – but there is a distinct feeling that with the likes of Divergent and Maze Runner that dystopian teen dramas are starting to exhaust cinema audiences.
Fortunately this will be remembered for a truly fantastic action set-piece about two/thirds in – when the group is set upon by a rabid group of alien/dog like lizard ‘Mutts’ – that saves it from the slow and methodical monotony that gives it a rather cold feel throughout.
And Jennifer Lawrence’s permanent pained look as Katniss has just about run its course – as seriousness in the movie seems to outweigh excitement – but again she, and the rest of the cast, deal competently enough with what is put in front of them.
Mockingjay Part 2 should just about leave fans appeased as a box-ticking exercise – even though it never ever gets close to catching fire – but the journey in this franchise was definitely better than the destination.
And when we reach that destination it doesn’t really wrap things up that coherently – which is headlined by Gale’s underwhelming and quite bizarre close to the canon.
In fact as soon as the proper Hunger Games ended with the second part – so did the heartbeat of this once potentially great series.
If you’re not a fan, feel free to knock a mark off.
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Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Julianne Moore, Mahershala Ali, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Willow Shields, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci & Philip Seymour Hoffman
Running Time: 2 Hrs 17 Mins
Director: Francis Lawrence