It’s the hour of truth. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” the final film based on Suzanne Collins’ novel, premiered on Nov. 20. In the final chapter of the Hunger Games series, Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, goes to the Capitol behind the front lines of war to capture propo films — propaganda films shot by District 13 to help sway District citizens to turn against the Capitol— and to assassinate President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland. Her team consists of Gale Hawthorne, played by Liam Hemsworth, and Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, as well as some members of the army of District 13.
Katniss has gone through a lot since the beginning of the series; from a jaded citizen in the Hunger Games to a reluctant victor and a symbol of revolution in Catching Fire, to finally a military symbol for freedom and a leader to the people in the Mockingjay films. Though Katniss is supposed to be the voice of the revolution, most of the time Lawrence sounds monotonous in Katniss’ speeches, which brings down her performance as a whole. During her speeches to the Districts’ citizens, the messages Katniss provides are inspirational, but lack emotional bravado. Even when she interacted with her love interests, there was no real compatibility, with Lawrence always acting rigid around either Gale or Peeta. Gale and Peeta had a better on-screen conversation than Katniss had with either of them.
Lawrence is supposed to be an excellent actress, as shown by her numerous nominations at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, among others, but for the most part she falls flat in her portrayal of Katniss here. Even in the previous “Hunger Games” films, she didn’t show much emotion in her words or actions, always acting stoic or blowing up in anger or sadness. There was no in between on her emotional spectrum. Katniss is supposed to be this great, inspiring symbol, but instead she is let down by Lawrence’s delivery of the lines. This dampened my response to the film. It could’ve been so much better if not for Lawrence’s delivery.
President Snow holds up as one of the best characters in the series. Sutherland continues to portray the twisted actions of Snow in Mockingjay as the aging President still plays with Katniss’ mind until the very end, such when he put the thought into Katniss’ mind that Alma Coin, played by Julianne Moore, was not who she appeared to be.
Though some of the characters’ performances were hit or miss, the makeup for the Capitol’s citizens was a high point for the film. During one point of the film, thousands of Capitol citizens marched in the streets, creating what seemed like a sea of color. The dark colored coats they each wore helped to contrast and bring out the bright blues and reds, among other colors, in their hair. Natalie Dormer, who plays Cressida, the director of the propos, showcased intricate and beautiful tattoo patterns on her head, making her stand out among the rest of the propo film crew as one of their leaders. She takes charge throughout the film, such as when she uses her gun power to fight off the muts and helps the team navigate the streets of the Capitol to arrive at the safe house in Tigris’ clothing shop. The makeup for the character, Tigris played by Eugenie Bondurant, a shopkeeper who hides Katniss and company in the Capitol, was amazingly beautiful; she resembled a tiger more so than she did a human. Though she didn’t have many lines, her presence was simply impactful with just her special effects makeup.
One my biggest gripes with the movie is that the ending was made extremely obvious to the audience, with a variety of complaints coming from audience members easily predicting key plot points, despite not reading any of the books or seeing any of the previous films. Two scenes that were supposed to be monumental plot twists in the novel were spoiled when onscreen actions taken by the characters ended up revealing those aspects of the plot, rather than letting the plot move forward on its own.
In spite of the subpar portrayal of its main character, “Mockingjay Part 2” acts as a lackluster ending to a great film series. However, the action sequences redeem the film against the previous iterations, adding an unwavering sense of anticipation around every corner. The film overall provides a suitable culmination to the story of Katniss Everdeen, “The Girl on Fire.”