I’ll miss this franchise. Unlike the puberty capitalising Twilight or the needless Maze Runner, The Hunger Games is a story aimed at young adults that actually wants to tell them something worthwhile: oppression is rubbish. This finale looks to punctuate that point with harrowing war scenes almost too relevant to enjoy, but nevertheless, encourage audiences to think about the human side of the politics. That’s more than can be said for the Divergent/Insurgent series, where the main question raised is how the hell they got Kate Winslet to be in it.
Fooling us into thinking we never actually left the cinema, MJ2 picks up exactly where Part 1 left off, with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) looking perturbed because she’s just been strangled by a brainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). As she leads the rebellion into its final battle with the tyrannous President Snow (Santa’s thinner brother, Donald Sutherland), Katniss begins to question her allegiance to Julianne Moore’s Alma Coin, who starts to look more like a manipulator than a liberator.
But despite an attempt to turn the battlefield into a Hunger Games arena, filled with booby-traps and vampire-like “mutts” (God knows where they came from), the Running Man vibe of the first two films is completely lost. Splitting the third instalment in two also creates serious pacing problems, where suspenseful scenes resemble something far closer to horror than a dystopian war thriller.
It’s the inevitable denouement this series needed, but it’s not a perfect one by any means. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, as its fragmented title might suggest, isn’t a smooth sprint to the finish, but a staggered one that trips over its protracted ideas about power and rebellion, hurts its knee, and goes crying to Suzanne Collins’ source material.