It has been over three years since the first movie in the Hunger Games series made its way into theaters. Now the end is in sight -- well, for now at least -- and the expectations are high for the series to end on a high note. According to some early reviews, fans will not be disappointed with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
Screen Rant liked Mockingjay – Part 1, giving it 3.5 stars out of 5. The film featured Jennifer Lawrence at her finest as her character Katniss Everdeen took the fight to Donald Sutherland's President Snow and his fascistic minions. Part 2 starts where that film left off, with the novel upon which it was based having been split into two films, like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn before it.
Here's what critics have had to say about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2:
Forbes - Scott Mendelson
There will be essays and think pieces in the coming months about the franchise as a whole, and I may toss my hat in when it’s appropriate to discuss spoilers. But The Hunger Games is, as a whole, a defining piece of social commentary busting a hole through the very notion of the hero myth as it exists in fiction and in life. The story of the genuine and the manufactured Katniss Everdeen, existing right alongside the true and the manufactured Jennifer Lawrence, will make this whole franchise a brilliant piece for school film dissection for decades to come.
Comingsoon.net - Edward Douglas
More than making up for its disappointing predecessor, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is an incredibly emotional film on many levels and a more than worthy conclusion to the series, mainly because it doesn’t shy away from finding ways to improve upon the original book.
Variety - Peter Debruge
One could argue that “Mockingjay” didn’t really merit being split in two (and surely a single three-hour movie could be made of it), but we benefit from the fact that the film has been given room to breathe, which allows for subtle character moments — including a nice bonding scene between Katniss and standoffish fellow victor Johanna (Jena Malone) that substitutes for their having been roommates in the book — and the gradual building of suspense during the actual siege in the Capitol.
Not all the reviews were so glowing. Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt found the movie to be too dark, a criticism that has been leveled at the series in the past given its target demographic:
The first two films managed the challenge of visually presenting the books’ violence without tipping into territory their target demo couldn’t handle. Mockingjay, though, strays too far into darkness: With its political power struggles and prodigious body count, all rendered in a thousand shades of wintry greige, the movie feels less like teen entertainment than a sort of Hunger Games of Thrones.
Uproxx's Mike Ryan, however, found that the message of female empowerment overwhelmed the darkness:
These movies represent something good. (Not the plot of killing kids in an arena for sport, but I will just assume at this point you understand my point.) Maybe, for some young viewers who love Katniss — and, for that matter, Jennifer Lawrence herself, who has been very outspoken on women’s rights— a character (or actor) like that can put the odds a little more in her favor.
Overall, audiences probably know going into The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 whether or not they're going to like it. Anyone who wasn't into the three previous movies in the series isn't going to be won over by this one, but in fixing some of the pacing issues of its source material, director Francis Lawrence has made a movie that is generating plenty of positive buzz from critics.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 hits theaters on November 20th, 2015.