It was difficult for Mockingjay Part 2 to live up to its hype. It did a good job with what material was left in the book, but there wasn’t much left.
The fourth film in the Hunger Games franchise showed the rebels infiltration of Panem’s capitol and very little beyond that. Mockingjay Part 2 had to add a love-triangle that, while it existed in the novels, was never used in the movies until the creative team realized they didn’t have two hours of show time. Now, I liked the game Peeta and Katniss play, Real or Not Real (it’s actually one of my favorite part of the film), and the inclusion of a love-triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale necessitated this game, but no one questioned who Katniss would end up with through the first two films. Still, Peeta and Katniss’s game was a nice addition. Too bad so many other elements left me scratching my head. Warning, there will be spoilers.
What was with the cameo by Tigress? I had to search my databanks to remember who she was, even after Katniss said she had given her a makeover at the games. Haymitch and Effie shared a goodbye kiss; that’s new. They also had to stand in for Plutarch (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) because of the actor’s passing. That made sense, but adding Plutarch to the cast with few spoken lines felt off. You couldn’t shut Plutarch up in the books and yet he hardly said a word, because Hoffman wasn’t there to deliver them. You could also see Hoffman’s bloodshot eyes which was painful to watch and made me wonder if the editors had heard of CGI. I wouldn’t have minded a little touch up there. And I know a lot of fans wanted to see the epilogue and watch Katniss’s happily ever after, but the ending didn’t work for me. I would’ve been fine with the first fade to black after Peeta and Katniss play their final game of Real or Not Real—again, I loved that game—but even if the creative team wanted to add the epilogue, there were so many better ways they could’ve handled it. The biggest omission from the novel was the fact that Katniss only had kids after fifteen years of marriage because Peeta wanted them. Here, they look like they had kids right away. In short, Mockingjay Part 2 extended things that didn’t need to be extended and sped up things that needed more time, but I still enjoyed.
With some exceptions Mockingjay Part 2 was faithful to the book. The action sequences were handled well and were entertaining; the hot oil and mutt scenes were especially effective. The actors didn’t phone it in either, which can happen for movie franchises that stick around a little longer than they should. I had a good time. I just don’t know why we needed a fourth movie. The further into Mockingjay Part 2 I got, the more I questioned why they didn’t omit twenty to thirty minutes from Part 1 and added forty to fifty minutes of the capital’s infiltration and the rest to the third film.