It is here, the Mockingjay part 2 is out after a year of waiting to find out how the whole grim story wraps up on screen.
But was it a success? Or was it just another loud film with no real stable core?
Well, maybe it’s best to start from the beginning. In the series’ opening film, 2012’s The Hunger Games, director Gary Ross faithfully adapted Suzanne Collin’s novel. But when Francis Lawrence took over to direct, Catching Fire, he created a sharp visual language that has remained throughout the final three films.
In many ways this has been a success, as even although it is important to be aware of the original text, film is an entirely different form of art and entertainment and it is essential that directors play to cinematic strengths.
Lawrence’s films are certainly esthetically stunning and his sly cliff-hanger style has not only left fans desperate for more, but has linked each movie to the next through a dramatic and coherent style.
But now that the final film has finally arrived, was it just as admirable as its predecessors?
In many ways the film had its flaws. It didn’t give each character the screen time they required to fulfill their narrative role, and this led to a sense of redundancy in many of the scenes and instability within the crucial character and theme tango.
Much of the cinematography, especially the lighting was very poorly conceived which was a shame as films such as this rely heavily on acutely defined mise-en to enhance the all-important momentism.
And then perhaps most unfortunately, the plot didn’t flow as naturally as it should and this attenuated the holistic presentation. There was a great deal of confusion as to the development of the film. It seemed to alternate between pep talks, action and district politics within a rickety hot potato game. This made the narrative progression into a jagged plot sequencing which ultimately led to an unbalanced ride.
But it wasn’t all bad, and in many ways it achieved what it was supposed to. It was dark and passionate and radiated a raw energy in its narrative, performances and edited sequences that mirrored the essence of the ugly dystopian nature of the novels, and the thrill of the final battle.
The development of character relationships was strong, especially between Katniss and Peeta and Katniss and Prim. In many ways these evolving relationships not only added emotion to the narrative, but gave weight to the central themes of the franchise and offered a deeper personal human element and vulnerability.
The acting was generally good, with Jennifer Lawrence giving a strong and poignant lead as always. She skillfully handled Katniss’s inner turmoil and broken spirit during the first half of the film, and smoothly slipped into her more aggressive and determined character for the final half.
Those who were new to the narrative, such as Commander Lyme, (Gwendoline Christie), and Antonius, (Robert Kneeper), boldly walked into the picture with energy and purpose, thus emphasising the individual roles of various players.
But, perhaps most importantly, the vital coup de ta and the denouncement were just as lavishly dramatic as one would hope. The march on the Capitol was exhilarating and the final scenes of war and then victory offered the sense of closure that was needed for such a gripping, but equally grilling franchise.
All in all, like every film, it had its flaws. However, it was excellent in many ways and did the franchise justice in creating a powerful ending to this thought-provoking and socially challenging series.