Having only seen the first film the very night it was released, and by the way not even having a good movie going experience as it was crowded, I had a lousy seat, and at the time I didn't really get what it was about given that I had not read any of the books. So needless to say I went in seeing the movie blind in a sense. By the time the movie had ended and I went home, I knew what was going on in the movie, but I did not really know what it was I had just seen. All that being said, and having no idea what went on in the later movies after the first one, I will also say that I actually really enjoyed Mockingjay Part 2. Here's why...
Of course there were so many strong solid performances given by Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. And also by the likes of such veteran and well established actors like Donald Sutherland, the late and great Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks! And I won't neglect to mention an applaud worthy direction by Francis Lawrence (whom had not only directed The Hunger Games' previous sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1, but also made a name for himself with such other features as I Am Legend, Water For Elephants & Constantine, and also numerous music videos before then collaborating with such artists as Aerosmith, Green Day, The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, among many others spanning a 20 year career).
The one of two things that caught my attention was the opening shot. As I'm sure it opened the way it did was because it was a continuation of the previous film. But it was a completely strong opening. Even though it didn't open with any action, which would have been a more preferred decision if left in the hands of a studio exec. And instead of Fading In, which would've also been preferred, it simply opens - Boom, there it is. One simple image, and what's happening is not even really attention grabbing. But the way it opens is. And that left an impression on me. Because you're suddenly thrust into what's going on. You don't have time to wait for a Fade In. You immediately have to begin paying attention.
The second thing that was very apparent to me was how simple and serene the ending was. Not that I'll give anything away, unless you've already seen the film or read the book. But the ending itself I felt was appropriate, and warranted. Because the characters had already been through so much that really they deserved a sense of normalcy. And that was given to us as the audience to experience along with the characters. Even the last piece of dialogue spoken by Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) held meaning. It was made aware to me by someone that I know that it was "the most predictable of the series". Regardless, whether you've read the books or not, or know what was going to happen or not. You're in it to take the journey with the characters. For me I don't always need to be surprised or shocked at every turn. To me it's about the message the story/film was trying to say. And I felt the story/film did have something to say.
What I found pretty startling was how closely the story mirrored our own society and how most people of this planet feel about war, how they see it, and what their thoughts about it are. There are those of us who don't want it and wish it never existed. And then there is the majority of the population who want to use any excuse to exploit it, profit from it, exact revenge for every little thing, or even just because a group of people simply doesn't like another. It's a scary and upsetting notion that any one of those factors are used to start wars. But this concluding chapter of the Hunger Games series explored that. They just used the setting circumstances to be more futuristic. It was fascinating to see it from that point of view.
But even if you're not on that level, or if you have some youngsters that just want to see Jennifer Lawrence in action, or if you're looking to be entertained, or even if you're just in it because you've read the books and only want to compare and contrast, this movie does have the ability to be open and be seen for all those reasons!
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"