It’s weird to think a film that wound up as one of the top 10 grossing films of its year would be a commercial and critical disappointment but The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 wound up failing in a lot of ways despite being healthy financially at the box office and getting fairly solid reviews. The second half of the Mockingjay tale, based off the novel of the same name, fails to live up to the high water mark of the rest of the series because it (like the first half) is a bloated half of a film that could’ve been made into one much more elegant film.
When we left off the war against the Capitol was just in its infancy. Now we find Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) as she and the rest of the resistance are in the middle of the war. Dropped behind enemy lines, she is tasked with one thing: evade a “Hunger Games” style system of traps in the city and find her way to the President’s house.
The film, at a bloated two hours plus, is an hour of good material bulked up with an hour of fluff to justify the run time. Between the two parts of Mockingjay there’s an epic three hour final or so that’s been bloated about by about 50% or so to justify two films (and two large box office runs) and it leaves the finale underwhelming at best. It takes so long to get to the final moments that by the end the final moments of the film don’t hit the notes they should.
It ups the stakes from the previous films, of course, and it’s in the action sequences the film shines. There’s a sense of danger because the film has no problem killing off characters that’ve been around for multiple films. It’s kind of refreshing to see, artistically, because the easier path would be to give the ultra happy ending to everyone involved. Mockingjay Part 2 has none of that, instead giving us the grave consequences of a civil war that takes many lives.
It’s not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination; It’s just one that feels unnecessary.
A lengthy documentary piece about the franchise is included, which is the Blu-Ray’s best feature, as well as some mainly passable extras are included.
Lionsgate presents The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Directed by Francis Lawrence. Written by Peter Craig and Danny Strong, based on the novel “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Mahershala Ali, Sam Claflin, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Natalie Dormer. Run Time: 136 minutes Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: 3.22.2016