In this fourth and final instalment in the Hunger Games series, director Francis Lawrence has created an intense viewing experience, aided by superbly crafted special effects which immerse the audience in the destruction and chaos of war.
New enemies, sadistic hidden traps, futuristic weapons and hideous creatures are brought to life in vivid detail, and the scenes in which Katniss makes her way through the perilous streets of the wealthy Capitol district are some of the most exciting of the film franchise.
The Hunger Games films are based on a trilogy by American writer Suzanne Collins, with the “games” involving children from 12 districts in Panem being selected by lottery as “tributes” to fight each other to the death for the entertainment of the citizens in the Capitol.
After Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta won the games in the first instalment, she incurred the wrath of Panem’s cruel leader, President Snow (Donald Sutherland), but the victory sparked a rebellion among the districts which culminated in the beginning of a bloody battle in Mockingjay – Part 1.
In Part 2, the rebels prepare to launch a dangerous final assault on the Capitol which they hope will bring an end to the war. They are led once again by Katniss – but as events unfold, she discovers her enemies are closer than she thinks.
Lawrence delivers another emotionally charged performance, while Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are impressive as her love interests Peeta and Gale. Woody Harrelson reprises his role as the surprisingly sober mentor Haymitch Abernathy, with other big-name cast members including Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman complete the all-star cast.
Unlike its predecessors, Mockingjay has a larger focus on the politics driving the war. The decision to split the story from one book across two films often creates the feeling that the plot is dragging along unnecessarily, despite the action scenes – which occur on a much larger scale than in previous films – being filled with blood and carnage.
Mockingjay – Part 2 is nonetheless an impressive end to this emotionally charged series, with its full impact likely to be best appreciated by those who have seen the earlier films.
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