“Mockingjay – Part 2” fails to take flight

With the release of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” last week, the franchise, based upon the popular young adult novels, comes to a close. “Mockingjay – Part 2” picks up directly where “Part 1” left off, with District 13 leading a march on the Capital to put an end to President Snow and his corruption. The film once again stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Julianne Moore as President Coin, along with the rest of the returning cast.

While “Part 1” was seemingly the setup and exposition for the battle we would later see, “Part 2” fails to deliver on any of those promises. None of the battle is actually shown, creating an anti-climatic ending to the series. The film focuses primarily on the predictable and dull love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale instead of exploring the characters’ reactions to the tragedy and death that has engulfed their world. As a result, the audience is left with very little time to process any character’s death within the film.

The conclusion of the film is one that also leaves the audience scratching their heads. It takes a turn that is not properly set-up and is incongruent from any of the previous films, while also suffering from the “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” syndrome of having 10 different endings. These elements combine to make the franchise go out with a whimper. Francis Lawrence, director of all but the first “Hunger Games” films, ultimately decided to create the most faithful adaptation to the novels in order to please the fans, rather than find a story that would better serve the screen. The results feel lackluster to say the least.

This is not to say the whole film is to be disregarded. Fans of the first three will find that there are plenty of the same elements in “Part 2” to keep them entertained. Jennifer Lawrence once again shines as Katniss Everdeen, and there are more than a few exciting action scenes to keep the audience from tuning out completely. This film also marks the final performance of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, portraying Plutarch in the film, who passed away last February. Hoffman does an adequate job of capturing the character.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” is a film that leaves viewers and fans confused and underwhelmed to where the build-up was headed in previous “Hunger Games” entries. While the other films thrive in being able to create strong and independent characters who not only deal with, but stand against, tragic events and grief, “Mockingjay – Part 2” succumbs to love triangles and little pay off.