The closing chapter to the money-printing franchise, The Hunger Games, is finally over, but after four long years, we’ve had enough of the series’ not-so-subtle and overly repetitive propaganda message. Visibly beyond working in these films at this point in her career, it’s embarrassing to watch Jennifer Lawrence plod her way aimlessly from plot point to plot point, spouting epic-sounding, yet cliche-ridden dialogue, purely to service the legions of fans who demand late night conversations about feelings.
I’m clearly not the targeted demographic here, but I do understand the draw that many fans would have to the dystopian source material. For most of the franchise, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) was a reluctant hero worthy of her popularity and plaudits. In the latter films, the character is reduced to the status of a pawn in a propaganda machine. On paper, this dramatic shift in character development has the potential to be intriguing, but the execution is muddled and boring.
This final entry is dark, dreary and devoid of any sign of hope or fun. Mockingjay Part 2 has no story to tell, but expects the audience to find watching Katniss and her not-so-merry band march to the Capitol entertaining. Think The Wizard of Oz set in war time, without any colour, joy, singing or flying monkeys.
I counted at least five sequences, where the characters sat down to rest or sleep for the night, only to wake moments later to discuss how “real” their memories were. These group therapy sessions may appeal to the most devoted and hardcore of fans, but these tedious and unnecessarily augmented scenes kill any sense of pace and tension.
The series is lauded by many to be a clever commentary on class systems, poverty, war, revenge, propaganda and violence. But its morality is inconsistent and conveniently overlooked when the drama calls for it. Characters avoid and condemn violence in one scene, only to murder faceless, unnamed soldiers in the next.
Also, why does every single war film have to include a bastardised version of the “Freedom” moment from Braveheart? Imagine that speech, but duplicated fifty thousand times for 137 minutes (not including the previous entry), because every character talks like this. The entire script has delusions of grandeur.
I’m no expert Hunger Games fanatic, but I do know that Mockingjay Part 2 should never have been split in two separate films. There’s simply not enough content from the final novel to pad out 4.5 hours of screen time. There might have been a satisfying conclusion to this series, but studio greed and franchise chasing has murdered any sense of cohesive storytelling here.
At the end of the day, if nothing else, we can be thankful that this series helped to further the ascension of Jennifer Lawrence as our Hollywood darling. Nothing, not even the fifty-seven different endings this film includes, can take that away from her.
It’s onward and upward J-Law.