Splitting author Suzanne Collins’ third and final book into two parts was a decision motivated by greed. The choice may have made stockholders happy, but it certainly didn’t benefit the art of telling an interesting story. Mockingjay Part 1 relied on exposition to set up a civil war that was brewing. The subject continues in Part 2. The ruthless enemy is Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland), President of Panem. The rebel factions from the outer districts take orders from Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), President of District 13. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is still on the side of Coin but she’s clearly conflicted to be an instrument in furthering her motives. Katniss is no longer a valiant participant in the games. She’s the Mockingjay — an inspiration for a generation of insurgents to launch a strike against the Capitol. It’s all out war. Complicating matters is that Peeta — now rescued from being under the influence of the enemy — has been brainwashed into thinking his beloved friend is the source of society’s ills.
The action had been stretched pretty thin in Mockingjay – Part 1, so expectations were that this is where the excitement would be. Yet there appears to be even less of that this go around. It’s more dialogue as actor squares off against actor. Sutherland and Moore impressively seize the focus. Unfortunately though the plot is a tedious slog in which the sum total of the narrative can be reduced to “Let’s go kill Snow”. There is an exorbitant amount of time spent on just walking to the Capitol. The trek includes Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Finnick (Sam Claflin) among others. On their way, Katniss and her team confront various traps and threats. A lot of people die. Katniss is disgusted by war and apparently herself. She’s glum and depressed, racked with guilt as she struggles with her new role. She never asked to be a symbol for the rebellion. The depression zaps the actress of her usual spark. Her despondency seeps into the overall spirit of the film.
The Hunger Games series ultimately sputters to a weak and sorry conclusion in this fourth and final installment. What a comedown from the exhilarating high point that Catching Fire had achieved. Mockingjay – Part 2 is a dour condemnation of war where very little of consequence happens until the end. The drama fails to make a lasting impression. There are a few exceptions. Katniss and her team encounter mutant zombies whose mouths resemble piranhas. The “Alien” attack sequence is the single most nightmarish moment in the entire picture. The chronicle is once again abetted by a colorful ensemble cast. Tigris (Eugenie Bondurant), is a former Hunger Games’ stylist, briefly seen hiding Katniss’ unit in her shop. The bizarre surgically altered cat woman is like some futuristic descendant of Jocelyn Wildenstein. Regrettably those loopy flourishes are the exception. A mostly gray color palette complements a boring narrative with a sluggish pace. At least it’s finally over I suppose.