A film that starts strong but quickly loses its edge as it tries to pack too much into its two-and-a-quarter hour running time.
Mockingjay Part 2 was the film that could have been. A film that left me wanting and didn’t deliver. After a strong start, it becomes oddly paced, mulling over vital plot points and lingering on unimportant moments. Jennifer Lawrences performance was the light in an otherwise dull affair.
A strong start, leading on from the Mockingjay: Part 1, we were thurst back into the revolution as Katniss plots to siege the capital and kill President Snow. On reaching the Capitol, Katniss and her team have to negotiate The Gamesmakers’ traps leading to Gale and Katniss’ plan to infiltrate Snow’s palace disguised as refugees.
The plot felt crowded, jumping between scenes quickly and dwelling upon unimportant scenes (resting scenes in the capital). The pacing then felt off and should have used its lengthy run time to focus on the emotional crux’s of the series, the death of Prim, the death of Finnick, and Katniss’ breakdown in the second-to-last scene. The film left me feeling detached from characters I was supposed to care for.
The embodiment of detachment within the film for me lies within the death of Prim. The whole plot centers around Katniss’ sister. She was the original tribute for the Hunger Games in the first film. She was Katniss’ reason to stop Snow. Prim was really supposed to be the talismanic figure of the revolution as without her the revolution would not have occurred. What I film the films did however was ignore her as a central character, they become solely about Katnis, thus using Prim only as a side character once or twice a film. With this, her death was non-consequential for the story, and the further development of the final act. Later, when Gale repents for the death of Prim was mulled over in what could have been a heartfelt ending. Prim was a missed opportunity as the central emotional pull.
What the film does well is to highlight the every-man (or woman) nature of Katniss. She embodies the anti-war, humanitarian aspect of revolutions that we have seen inspiring countries like Egypt, Libya, and Thailand. As a protagonist she is outstanding. Jennifer Lawrence is exceptional and clearly the stand-out performance through all four films – her emotion carries the earlier films and makes for good, or in the case of Catching Fire, great films.
The film also highlights the fickle nature of politics and in particular revolutionary ideals. Coin’s backstabbing of Katniss and her using of her for her own political ends is also something that fits within the current socio-political climate. When democracy is the main cause of revolution, often it ends in an ‘interim’ dictatorship where nothing changes. Coin embodies this within the fictional narrative.
While the film is clearly not bad, it did not feel good. A missed opportunity here to create an explosive end to the series, leading to it being the flattest of the quadrilogy.