Well, I might have some bad news for all the people who mainly liked the first two Hunger Games films for the gladiatorial action and disliked 'Mockingjay: Part 1' for the lack of it: if you didn't appreciate the politically charged human drama and grim tone of the last film, you will probably not like this one either. While the bleak, gut-wrenching conclusion to the Hunger Games saga does bring the action back (although of a far grittier and more realistic kind than what we saw in the first two films), its tone and themes are a perfect continuation of 'Mockingjay: Part 1'.
I've never read the books, but I guess I'm in the minority among the non-book-readers, because I really liked the third film. I liked it precisely for its non-action-based narrative and very credible portrayal of a fascist system with all its horrific oppression and propaganda tools. I had hoped the final instalment in the series would continue to explore the human drama the way 'Mockingjay: Part 1' did - but I was actually not prepared how far Part 2 would exceed my expectations: the emotional impact this film has tops what came before in every conceivable way. 'Mockingjay: Part 2' is a gut punch of a film and a near masterpiece, and it may very well be the least "popcorny" popcorn film and least likely blockbuster ever to receive that label.
This is supposed to be a spoiler-free review, so I won't go into any story details, but the most astounding thing - especially compared to the first two films - is how layered 'Mockingjay: Part 2' is. This is not the simple good-against-evil story anymore: this is a really smart study on how propaganda works and how one fascist system is about to be replaced - albeit with the best intentions - by another. A very wise person once said: "War makes Fascists of us all" - I believe 'Mocking Jay: Part 2' does an excellent job at getting that point across. Apart from the delightfully evil President Snow, there are no mere black and white characters here; instead, we get a story that really has something to say and a sincere and complex exploration of an escalating civil war that threatens to consume everyone. Unlike most YA adaptations, the film doesn't shy away for a second from showing what that means: the audience is left in no doubt about the human toll this revolution will take in the end.
Maybe the current situation in Syria made this film resonate more with me than it should have, but I was surprised at how un-Hollywood-like and really, really well this was done. As I said before, I've never read the books, but if Mockingjay: Parts I&II come closer to capturing their essence than the first two adaptations, they're definitely deserving of the success they got. With its well-drawn characters (portrayed by an outstanding ensemble of actors), credible dialog and a story that takes its time, this felt like so much more than just your usual popcorn movie. And I can't stress this enough: Jennifer Lawrence MAKES this film; the whole franchise, really. The emotional intensity she brings to Katniss feels so real; it's the kind of performance that, in this kind of film, sadly often gets overlooked, but I sincerely doubt a better Katniss could ever have been found and I hope Lawrence wins her second Oscar for this.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2" kicks off right after the devastating ending Part 1 left us in: Peeta is under full recovery from his hijacking and the war of Panem is slowly unleashing. It's up to Katniss and the new squad called Squad 451 to take down the Capitol. Here they--and the audience--go through lots of insane moments, traumatizing scenes, horrifying action sequences and...emotional, emotional, emotional casualties.
It's obvious that Mockingjay Part 2 is the best movie of the saga, by far. It's incredibly well-made for a "popcorn" movie and its stakes are at its highest. The acting: Everyone owns each scene they're on, but, if you ask me: Jennifer Lawrence gives the best portrayal of Katniss she has ever made (yeah, even better than Catching Fire, and she at least deserves a Golden Globe nomination to be fair) and Peeta's character arc is now at its fullest and its tremendous. Effie, Finnick, Haymitch and Johanna were the emotionally intriguing targets of the movie. They really seemed to be enjoying every, damn scene (Johanna keeps stealing the show every time).
And now, after a beautiful costumes and awesome make-ups (Tigris' physical appearance blew away all of my senses), great cinematography and awe-inspiring visual and sound effects, to edge-of-your-seat action scenes, crazy chills, goosebumps, cries (R.I.P Prim, Finnick and Boggs) and jump-scares, the movie reaches its climax and it's funny because it's one of those movies where you think it's gonna end one way and it completely turns the table in a ten-second scene that just leaves you saying "What the hell has just happened? Everything was going well!". The ending finished my already-emotionally-drained-and-destroyed head, but it was a crowd-pleaser so, yeah, I ain't spoiling anything. You have to see it to believe it.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is a much larger improvement than its predecessor, and can arguably compete to be the best in series. Their is much less dialogue in this film and much more action, and when dialogue does come it all has a meaning. This movie starts out slow and builds up to a epic conclusion. The film picks off shortly after Mockingjay Part 1, and as the war in Panem escalates, the rebels soon turn to the ruling power in the capitol. The start of the film is generally well received and is a bit slow but focuses more on the emotional impact of the war rather than the action, but as the weapons are turned to the center of the country, the action is jam-packed. The action is fuelled by the breathtaking and quite emotional performances of stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. This movie is a great action packed ride and is very nerve racking. It does lack on screenplay in some parts where is is rushed but makes up for that with the rest of the film. If you are looking for a good, quite emotional, blockbuster, and cinematic masterpiece of the year, this film is for you.