Mockingjay Part Two starts off where Part One left off with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) recovering from an attack from a possessed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). With almost everyone she knows and loves dying around her, the only way to end this suffocating drama is to kill President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Meanwhile the twelve districts are rebelling agaist The Capital.
So another Young Adult franchise comes to an end (for now) and let's face it has been quite a journey from our first introduction to Katniss Everdeen back in 2012's The Hunger Games where she faced eleven deadly foes in a brutal game of kill or be killed. It's been an impressive series that is, in terms of quality and thematic depth, miles ahead of many other Young Adult series that have yet to make the same impression and impact as the Hunger Games franchise.
Film series like the Divergent and The Maze Runner lacked substance and the interesting and well fleshed out themes of The Hunger Games where its themes of propaganda, totalitarianism and the importance of symbols and leaders played a strong role in the developing the overarching theme in a story of rebellion against oppressive forces. The whole idea of The Hunger Games franchise was to get young teens interested in politics, and the way the film presented its themes in a manageable way may just go the distance in achieving that.
Mockingjay Part Two Part continues a trend started by the Harry Potter series back in 2010/11 where the final book was split into two different films both reaching two hours in length (Twilight also did the same). This creates a problem that becomes the film's biggest flaw, by adapting the book into two two hour plus films the pace becomes difficult to manage, and it's often the case that in both parts of the Mockingjay film that the pace does stutter to a halt, but is then kicked back into action by an exciting scene such as the one in the sewer which was masterfully tense and brilliantly done. Putting aside some questions over the plot (surely a better disguise should have been drafted up?) the only major problem the film has is its inconsistent pacing. That said the epilogue is pretty awful.
One of the things that has always impressed me the most about the franchise is how hard hitting the entire franchise is. Right from the very start it's themes of propaganda, totalitarianism and oppression of the masses have been well developed and the horror of seeing kids killing kids for entertainment brings up comparisons to Battle Royale. The Hunger Games franchise, whilst never going to be as popular as Harry Potter, is far more darker and thematically rich and it's a testament to the quality of the franchise overall it never loses sight of what it's truly about. The last film in particular really does push the boundaries of a 12A rating more than any other 12A rated film I have seen, there is one scene that will shock you if you have never read the books.
The Hunger Games in the franchise that made Jennifer Lawrence the international star that she is, whilst there was a dark side to this such as unwanted press and media attention the chance to display her fine acting talent and great range to audiences around the world has greatly benefited her career. Lawrence derseves the accolade of the world's highest paid and most in demand actress as she is excellent in the entire franchise. Katniss' drifting from scene to scene is much to do with her PTSD and during her more devastating and emotional moments the audience fully sympathetic to her plight. The entire cast of characters are terrific (most notably Donald Sutherland's President Snow), though some do fall by the wayside and are forgotten about as the film goes on.