I’m going to assume you’ve read the books so you come into this review full aware that we’re going to discuss the end. If you don’t and haven’t read the book and don’t want to spoiled, go away (you can come back after you’ve read the book and watched the movie). Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Firstly, I’m not much of a movie aficionado. Especially Hollywood movies. For reasons I don’t want to get into right now, they don’t interest me but it’s The Hunger Games and I read and loved the books with the rest of the world so of course I was going to see it to its gritty end even though Yash and I have concluded that we are the cowardly sort who cannot handle things that are too intense.
I didn’t like the first movie. It felt too superficial as though it skated the surface of the world Collins had created. The second movie I loved and the first half of the third book was excellent. I knew going into the second part of the last book, that is, this movie, that the outlook was bleak to horrible and I was proven correct on all counts.
While the worldbuilding continued being excellent and Mockingjay 2 was tonally consistent, I felt that the story, by being split into two movies, lost a lot of momentum. If parts 1 and 2 had been one movie, the ending would have had a lot more impact than it ultimately did. As it was, the story felt…underwhelming.
Yash said this too and I agree that while the novel is in first person and seeing the world only from Katniss’s perspective is a given, the movie had no such limits and could have shown glimpses of all the rebels thereby providing the viewers with the reality of war. If we had seen how this war was being fought on all fronts and not just in the city from the ‘elite’ viewpoint, we’d have been able to see and gain perspective on the world in which Katniss is trying to survive.
This is not to imply I hated the movie. Far from it. I enjoyed it enough. I think the most effective scene for me was Finnick’s death because it was such a horrible way to go and brought home the point that wars may be won but they’re Pyrrhic victories. I liked the portrayal of the romance though the epilogue was, as expected, cheesy but I don’t think I minded the cheese after the harrowing events of the war. I also liked the diversity in the cast and how POC people were given positions of power.
However, I found Prim’s death to be strangely anti-climactic and the events following Snow’s surrender though muted were not as intensely fragmented as in the book–though this can be put down to the readers being in Katniss’s head and knowing directly how she felt instead of having to interpret her emotions through another medium.
The scene where Katniss finds her sister’s cat waiting in her house was heartbreaking but at the same time, I felt removed from the situation. I don’t know if this is because I was better prepared for the scene or it just didn’t tug my heartstrings in the right manner.
In conclusion, the movie was okay but it would have been greater had the two parts been one.