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'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2' Film Review: This is how a revolution ends

November 20, 2015Ben MK

Here's a fun fact: If you tally up the running time of all four Hunger Games films, it comes up just 10 minutes shy of the total running time for the theatrical version of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. That means by the time the end credits roll on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, you'll have spent just over 9 hours watching the heroes and heroines of author Suzanne Collins blockbuster young-adult novels, as they wage war against the tyrannical oppression of the Capitol.

Though it might feel like forever, the first Hunger Games movie was only released a mere three years ago, in 2012. Since then, we've watched star Jennifer Lawrence go from being a virtual unknown to one of the most talented and sought-after actresses in Hollywood. At the same time, we've witnessed her character, Katniss Everdeen, undergo her own stirring transformation, evolving from a meek, small-town teenager into a powerful voice for freedom — a symbol of the resistance's ongoing struggle, known to the people of Panem simply as the Mockingjay.

Now, in the final chapter of the Hunger Games saga, Katniss' four-movie journey comes to its highly anticipated end. Picking up where last year's Mockingjay - Part 1 left off, we rejoin her, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and a newly-rescued-but-traumatized Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), as they and their comrades attempt to make their way to the heart of the Capitol. Their mission: to put a stop to the bloody civil war that has claimed the lives of thousands of innocents, by putting a bullet between the eyes of the man responsible, President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

Of course, it won't be nearly that easy, for Snow has had his Gamemakers line the streets of the Capitol with thousands of "pods," each one a hidden death trap capable of sending its unwitting victims to a gruesome end. Meanwhile, back in District 13, President Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) strategize their next move, and how best to rally the citizens of Panem behind their cause. But as the film progresses, even Coin's motives are thrown into question. Does she really seek to liberate Panem from the shackles of Snow? Or does she simply want to supplant him?

Returning to the franchise one last time are Catching Fire and Mockingjay - Part 1 director Francis Lawrence and screenwriters Peter Craig and Danny Strong, who build upon the foundation laid by the three previous films, leveraging the audience's familiarity with the characters for maximum impact. After all, this is a movie where death waits around every corner, whether it be in the form of a fiery explosion, a torrent of scalding hot tar, sewer-dwelling mutants, or even an arrow to the heart. So, naturally, don't expect all of your favorite characters to make it out alive.

Yes, Mockingjay - Part 2 is a fair bit more action-oriented than its predecessor. Yet, somehow it still manages to test viewers' patience from time to time. Perhaps it has to do with the its curious pacing, or the fact that the original book has been stretched thin to span two movies. Or perhaps it's because we're all just a little tired of watching the young people of this dystopian future rage and rage (and rage some more) against the proverbial machine. Either way you cut it, we're all just looking for a little closure, which is exactly what Mockingjay - Part 2 provides. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 releases November 20th, 2015 from eOne Films. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material. Its runtime is 2 Hrs. 17 Mins.

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