It’s time to settle the score, as Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and the rebel army take the capital. And let me warn you, it feels like it takes a loooong time. Francis Lawrence directs this last chapter of the dystopian franchise, which began with a lively kids-killing-kids reality-TV show and now tries to solve all the world’s problems.
Mockingjay Part II starts up right where Part I ended, with Katniss nursing a bruised neck from where former paramour Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) was squeezing it. “Let me take down the capital,” she croaks, and after a delay or three, a small crew of crack fighters heads there. Compadres include her other man, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), a videographer (Katniss is a PR tool) and Peeta (still kind of a brainwashed killer). Waiting at the capital is evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland), who gleefully welcomes them with “a celebration of suffering.” These take the form of “pods,” like landmines that unleash bizarre obstructions (explosions, oil).
Pods, zombies and other challenges are overcome, and there is a final reckoning of sorts that should be fairly obvious even to non-book readers. The film is not bad per se, and I do appreciate that Hunger Games at least tries to tackle bigger and darker thematic issues (perversion of power, cycles of violence, societies based on economic inequality). But the material — one book converted to nearly five hours of film — feels stretched too thin here: The characters are battle-scarred and weary, and I am too. But thank you all for your hard work!