‘Hunger Games’ wraps: Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 Reviews

Published: November 22, 2015

‘Hunger Games’ wraps: Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 Reviews, “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” an action movie in the form of a dirge, brings a fitting end to the most downbeat pop franchise in mainstream movie history. Gruesome, pessimistic, angry, violent, subversive and also wildly popular – that would worry me, if I were running for public office.

The YA world of Suzanne Collins, after all, operates at a modest remove from what the author sees as a just-around-the-corner reality – a logical continuation of economic decline for the middle and lower classes.

Some have accused Collins of laying it on too thick, but her books look more prescient every day. Witness those new stats about the spike in suicides and substance abuse among blue collar whites.

Sounds a lot like the Appalachian nightmare that gave rise to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) – at the outset of the saga, a hunter who prowls forbidden forests for food and to escape her dismal home life (dead father, self-medicating mother).

When tyrant leader Snow (Donald Sutherland) nominates her sister Prim (Willow Shields) to fight others teens in a televised death match, Everdeen volunteers to take her place, an act of self-sacrifice that makes her a curiosity in the so-called Hunger Games, then a hero when she turns the kill-or-be-killed spectacle into an inversion of the factionalism the games are designed to enforce.

From there she becomes a rebel icon, enlisted (co-opted?) by the leader (Julianne Moore) of a rival society, a leader who wishes to displace and perhaps replace Snow.

To what end?

That’s what Everdeen asked at the end of “Mockingjay Part 1” and her suspicions only grow in this movie, apace with her ire.

The compassionate volunteer of “The Hunger Games” is now an eager assassin. “Mockingjay” becomes a post-apocalyptic road movie of skirmishes and death traps, as Everdeen heads towards Snow’s citadel and redoubt, leading a squad of soldiers and former Hunger Games combatants.

Many are killed. The movie is grisly, relentless and as pissed-off as Everdeen, now alienated and more focused than ever on bloody revenge.

The nonstop spectacle of slaughter makes for a bit of a grind (splitting the third book into two movies was an artistic mistake). You applaud the movie for honoring Collins’ vision, even as you miss the comic relief of Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson, consigned to tiny cameos here.

Then we hit the really depressing bits; “Mockingjay” preserves the devastating one-two punch of Collins’ original story.

There are many ways to read this conclusion, but it’s no great leap to see it as a scathing denunciation of our two-party system.

Boomers complain about Collins’ bloody and despairing vision, but the books are not for them. They’re for millennials, and Collins seems to have tapped into their estrangement from traditional institutions.

“I guess there are no rules about how to treat people” says a disgusted Everdeen at one point.

Lawrence looks like she’s outgrown this role, but she manages to sells the line and the feeling behind it. Maybe she’s thinking of being paid less than Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle.”


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