The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Francis Lawrence
Published Nov 19, 2015By this point, the plot lines in the 007 franchise have become so incongruous and absurd, that it's been usurped by the gigantic Hunger Games tetralogy, both in audience anticipation, quality of production and talent of its cast.
Mockingjay – Part 2, the franchise finale, begins with the last battles for control of Panem, a post-apocalyptic nation purportedly in the Rocky Mountains of North America. As the rebels advance on the Capitol, the embattled President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland) has done everything in his power to create mass hysteria and terror, rending the remnants of civil life through explosives, surveillance and deception. Read into this what you will.
The tone is dark in the grittiest, most desperate sense possible; sorrow and loss cloud the skies amidst the explosions of war, and any pretence that this movie is about anything but battle, power and alliances is dispelled quickly. Interestingly, it's the film's take on the "soft" aspects of conflict — the strategy and the propaganda, specifically — that give it a satisfying, unexpected level of depth. This is best captured by the shrewd, calculating President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), who's spent the franchise ruthlessly plotting her ascent to power.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) returns as the Mockingjay, a symbol of unity for the disenfranchised citizens of districts still held by the Capitol. Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Philip Seymour Hoffman reprise their roles as well. (For the audience, there's a sad moment upon the realization that this is Philip Seymour Hoffman's last appearance on screen.)
Everdeen once again remains caught in a triangle of conflicting emotions with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), a nice touch that subverts the worn-out trope of having female leads emotionally subservient to a dominant, if secondary, male character. Instead, her emotional involvement with Mellark and Hawthorne creates a more dynamic, nuanced hero. The characters here are all vulnerable to their emotions but not defined by them, and are never played as character flaws, revealing nuance not typically seen in big budget Hollywood fare such as this.