PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) recovers after nearly being murdered by Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), who had been “hijacked” by the Capitol. After rebel forces destroy the Capitol’s weapons supply in District 2, with a plan developed by Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) and Beetee Latier (Jeffrey Wright), Katniss shoots a propaganda film about the influx of Capitol refugees arriving in District 13, who are mistreated and brutalized by the rebels. When she attempts to intervene in the situation, a fight breaks out, during which Katniss is shot.
During recovery, Katniss spirals into depression. She approaches President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and volunteers to kill President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland), but Coin declines in favor of preserving Katniss as the symbol of their revolution. During the wedding of Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Annie Cresta (Stef Dawson), Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) tells Katniss of an aircraft leaving for District 2, where Commander Paylor (Patina Miller) is planning an all-out assault on the Capitol. Sneaking aboard, Katniss is assigned to Squad 451, the “Star Squad”, led by Boggs (Mahershala Ali), but later finds out that their mission is to trail behind the invasion and be the onscreen face of the rebellion. They use a holographic map called a Holo to evade “pods” (booby traps) created by Gamemakers which line the streets of the Capitol. Peeta is unexpectedly assigned to the team by Coin despite still being vulnerable to the Capitol’s conditioning, and Boggs warns Katniss to be careful because she is seen by Coin as a threat to her power.
As they venture into the Capitol, they are ambushed by a hidden pod, and Boggs is fatally injured, transferring command of the unit to Katniss before dying. Another pod is triggered, which releases an avalanche of black ooze. Peeta’s hijacking drives him to attack Katniss again, during which he pushes Mitchell (Joe Chrest) into the ooze but is restrained long enough for the squad to evade the avalanche and escape into a building. With Boggs dead and command passed down to her, Katniss lies and tells her squad that she is under orders from Coin to kill Snow. The Peacekeepers eventually find their hideout, however the squad is able to escape before they arrive. Peacekeepers bomb their hideout, killing the Leeg twins (Misty and Kim Ormiston). The Capitol broadcasts a message with Snow announcing the supposed deaths of Squad 451 and of Peeta attacking Katniss, but Coin then hijacks the signal, and says that everyone should praise the sacrifice.
Nearing Snow’s mansion, the team decides to venture into the Capitol’s sewers in order to avoid the pods, but Snow, realizing the Squad is still alive, ambushes them with monstrous reptilian creatures called mutts created by the Capitol. Commander Jackson (Michelle Forbes), Castor (Wes Chatham), and Homes (Omid Abtahi) are killed. After the fight that follows, a mutt pulls Finnick down as he is escaping, forcing Katniss to use the self-destruct mechanism on the Holo to end his suffering, destroying what was left of the mutts in the process. They are chased by Peacekeepers shortly after reaching the surface, during which a pod kills another squad member, Messalla (Evan Ross). The survivors eventually escape and take refuge in a shop, where a former Hunger Games stylist, Tigris (Eugenie Bondurant), hides them in her basement. While they all mourn the loss of the rest of their squad, Katniss confesses that she lied about her orders to kill Snow, and as a result of her lie, Finnick and the rest of the squad are dead. The squad reveal that they knew this all along, but went with her because they trusted her. Peeta comforts Katniss, saying that if she kills Snow, she will avenge the deaths of everyone who has died because of him. That night, Gale and Peeta discuss their love triangle, with Gale stating he thinks Peeta has won her over, but Peeta thinks that Gale has. Gale eventually remarks that deciding which one she can’t live without is Katniss’s problem, and not theirs.
Snow announces that the rebels have invaded the Capitol and welcomes refugees into his mansion, providing them with food and shelter. With the traps deactivated, Katniss and Gale pose as refugees to gain access to Snow. Their covers are nearly blown when the rebels arrive and attack the Peacekeepers, killing many Capitol civilians. In the ensuing chaos, Katniss marches towards Snow’s mansion and finds Peacekeepers taking Capitol children to provide Snow with a human shield. A Capitol hovercraft flies by and drop silver parachutes similar to the ones used in the Hunger Games into the crowd of children surrounding the mansion, which explode. Upon the explosion, a team of rebel medics attempt to help the injured, among whom is Katniss’ sister, Prim (Willow Shields). Katniss heads towards her, but a second round of bombs go off, killing Prim and knocking Katniss unconscious.
Upon recovering, Katniss learns that the Capitol has been conquered by the rebels, and that Snow has been captured. Katniss confronts Snow, who claims that Coin masterminded the bombings in order to turn his supporters against him. When Katniss accuses him of lying, he reminds her of their promise to always be truthful to each other. Suspicious, Katniss realises that the bombs resembled a trap Gale had been working on earlier. When Gale confesses that it may have been his and apologizes, she orders him out of the room. Later, Katniss attends a meeting with Coin (who has appointed herself interim President of Panem) and the remaining Victors to discuss having one final edition of the Hunger Games with the children of the Capitol as retribution for the previous games. Realizing that Snow was right and that Coin has “played them both for fools”, Katniss votes in favor of the motion “for Prim,” which gains Coin’s trust. She is awarded the opportunity to execute Snow.
At the execution, which is being held before the whole of Panem, Katniss faces Snow once again. As she readies her bow, the two make eye contact, and Snow gives her one last smile. Katniss silently agrees, and instead shoots the arrow into Coin’s heart, killing her. While a laughing Snow is finally lynched and killed by an angry mob, Katniss attempts to commit suicide by consuming a nightlock pill, given to them earlier in case of enemy capture, but Peeta stops her attempt. Katniss is pardoned for her crime, being deemed mentally unwell, and through a letter delivered by Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) advises Katniss to return home to District 12 until things settle down.
Katniss returns to her home in the ruins of District 12 to recover from her traumatic ordeal, where she is eventually joined by Peeta, who has recovered his memories of love for Katniss. Commander Paylor is elected the new President of Panem, and Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch bond over their shared trauma. Katniss and Peeta slowly grow back together, and Katniss admits her love for him. Years later, Katniss and Peeta are shown to have two children. Katniss reminisces about her recurring nightmares she still suffers from and explains she plays “a game” where she lists all the good things she has seen someone do. She notes that while the game has grown tedious over the years, “there are much worse games to play.”
Well, the day studios have feared. Another franchise has come to an end, despite their desperate attempts to drag it out. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, part II is surely all the action we didn’t get in its predecessor, which was more talking and planning than anything else, right? Let’s find out!
What is this about?
As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.
What did I like?
Horror games. A few years ago vampires were everywhere, or at least what people were calling vampires. Now we have zombies all over the place, and these are true, mindless, killing machine zombies. Even this movie is not immune to the influence of zombie culture, as the mutts now look like zombies and/or creatures from Silent Hill. This is a big change for them since they were dog-type creatures in The Hunger Games. The design isn’t really what I liked, as mcuch as how this whole underground segment played out like a horror movie. I think I even saw some people jump when the mutts showed up out of nowhere. Can we say jump scare?
Pods. All over the Capitol, these death traps called pods, have been set up. I’m wondering what kind of twisted minds came up with these things. Tar traps that flood an arena type area, flame throwers on a motion sensor, floors that crumble as you walk on them and then reveal rolling spikes, lights that instantly disintegrate what they touch, etc., these are not the kind of things a normal person thinks up. Bringing the traps to t life from the book it impressive to me as they looked really deadly on screen and made the audience question whether our band of heroes could ultimately escape.
Aquaman. He’s not in this for very long, but Finnick Odair is still mastering the trident and water skills. Who else does that? Hmmm…oh yeah, Aquaman! I know that they have cast that Aquaman, but Sam Claflin is more of what Aquaman really is. Maybe someone casting over there at DC movies needs to read a comic book once in a while! Anyway, Finnick is a hero through and through, still protecting Katniss and fighting with the knowledge his new wife is waiting for him to come home.
What didn’t I like?
Peaked too soon. This is a franchise that has been superior from the beginning. However, this being the last film, I didn’t get that feeling that everything ended with a we will always remember these characters. Perhaps that should have taken a cue from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part II (in more ways than just splitting the last book), and show us what happened to all the characters, not just Katniss and Peeta. Yes, they do give us an epilogue, but it is more of a monologue with an older version of our heroes. Can it me that this film hit its peak in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire? One can make that argument, because these two Mockingjay pictures have not felt like a fitting end that those of us fans invested since the beginning deserve.
Avox. Here we are in the final film of this series and they bring out a term from the books, avox. Know what that is? Chances are, if you haven’t read the books, you don’t have a clue, as these films never told us, and yet they gloss over it so nonchalantly, you’d think it was something as well-defined as the games themselves. An avox is a person being punished for rebelling against the Capitol. As such, they have their tongues cut out and cannot speak. With Pollux being such a somewhat major character, one would think this would have been explained somehow!
Little support. The focus of the film is obviously on Katniss, Peeta, and the usual main characters, which is fine, but what about the rest of the cast? Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch, who has been a bright spot of comedic relief in these dark times might as well have been nonexistent. Jena Malone’s character deserved more screentime, and perhaps another elevator strip scene HA! I feel as if her character could have been fleshed out more, but that didn’t happen. If I recall, there was some real time for Prim, which we say in the last film, but all we got in this one was a quick glance before an explosion. WTF?!? She is the whole reason for this whole mess with Katniss, if you think about it. Give her and Katniss at least one scene of sisterly bonding! These are just a few examples of how little the filmmakers felt the supporting characters should support.
Well, that ends The Hunger Games franchise. What will take up the mantle going forward? I would say Divergent, but that’s about to end, too. I’m sure something will pop up. In the meantime, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, pt. II left me with a bit of disappointment. It isn’t that it was a bad film, but rather there is no excitement. Other than a couple of action scenes, this isn’t much different from its predecessor in term of excessive dialogue. Do I recommend it? Yeah, again, it isn’t a bad picture, just not what I feel the final film should be. Give it a shot, though.
4 out of 5 stars