Friday, November 20, 2015

Mockingjay Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 concludes the adventures of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a dead-eyed girl from District 12 whose only heroic action over the course of the series took place near the beginning of the first film. I don't know if the original books on which the movies were based are any good, but the films themselves are one (small) step above torture porn with the least-interesting love triangle ever conceived thrown in for good measure. Do we care who Katniss ends up with? Not really. And because the movies have shown her to be largely unimportant as anything more than a symbol it's hard to invest any emotion in her journey or its outcome.

Picking up immediately following the events of the last film, Katniss licks her wounds and plans her revenge against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) for turning one of the men she kinda, sorta, loves (i.e. leads on) into a brainwashed killing machine. The fact that Snow is the head of a corrupt government with the blood of thousands on his hands isn't much of a concern for our heroine who has decided murdering an old man with her own hands is the only form of justice she is willing to accept.

Sneaking off from District 13, Katniss travels to the front lines ignoring the wishes of President Coin (Julianne Moore) who successfully turned the brash young woman into the face of her rebellion. Doing so puts an entire squad of soldiers and friends at risk as the grand revolution movie the series had promised turns out to be nearly the exact same plotline rehashed with Snow turning the capitol into a maze of death traps for the "enjoyable" deaths and dismemberment of several thinly-written supporting characters.

The familiar faces of the series all return for one last curtain call including Philip Seymour Hoffman in a sad epilogue to an otherwise great career. Much of the plot is spent with the squad running from traps, monsters, and soldiers to get Katniss close enough to shoot an arrow into someone's heart. Of course things don't always go as planned, and, despite his murderous tendencies towards Katniss, Peeta's (Josh Hutcherson) involvement in their quest turns out to be a very questionable decision (but necessary to drive home the love triangle plot one final time). And before it is all said and done the film will pile on with a series of epilogues that make the end of The Return of the King appear brief in comparison.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 isn't awful. Okay, it's pretty bad. But truthfully it's simply a mediocre final entry to an equally mediocre film series that despite all it's foreshadowing of big ideas, rebellion, and diatribes on freedom has little to actual say that doesn't involve the on-screen gleeful death of the only characters the script seems to care about. Even at the end Katniss' big moments aren't defined by heroism, nobility, or belief in a cause but are driven solely by revenge, anger, and an eye-for-an-eye philosophy that is just as barbaric as anything the movie has her rail against over the course of the series.

No comments: