In the beginning of a long-loved series, Katniss Everdeen had much simpler goals living in District 12. However, after the Games, she’s become a completely different person. Although she’s survived the arena twice and has decided to fight back against the government of Panem and its evil dictator President Snow, the Rebellion she’s decided to take the lead in seems to have more in common with their enemy than originally thought. As the end of her journey draws near in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Katniss must decide what the fate of Panem will be once and for all.
Mockingjay Part 2 picks up where Part 1 left off: Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has been reunited with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), only to find their reunion less than ideal when it appears that her old paramour has been turned against her by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Losing the support of one of the people dearest to her is not the only blow Katniss takes throughout the course of the film. Her childhood friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) has become someone she doesn’t understand anymore, and President Coin (Julianne Moore) is turning out to be a lesser-of-two-evils with a pretty evil agenda of her own. With the world raging around her, Katniss has to decide who to trust, who to fight, and who is worth living for when all is said and done.
While the whole series of The Hunger Games films have gotten increasingly dark and morose, Mockingjay Part 2 takes the story to a new level. War has broken out, family and friends are dying all around, and Katniss is on a personal mission to destroy the man that has basically destroyed her. Although she has chosen to become a symbol of rebellion for thousands of people in Panem, Katniss has always fought for very personal reasons in order to protect her loved ones. The war isn’t just about an idea to her. It’s about the life she has been forced to live ever since she can remember.
As the final installment in the film series, Mockingjay Part 2 evokes a lot of emotions in viewers. Beloved characters are lost (at times in horribly violent ways), alliances are forged and broken, and in some cases, the tragedy on the screen is reflected in real life. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who played Plutarch Heavensbee, passed away before the film was completed. Some of this character’s dialogue and actions were given to other characters, but much of it was done in subtle nods to the late-actor himself. At one point, Katniss reads a letter written by Plutarch, which is meant to generate an emotional response not only due to the loss of the character but of the actor himself.
For fans of the book and film series, Mockingjay Part 2 is a fitting wrap-up to the Hunger Games story. Though victory is bittersweet, it is achieved. And the evolution of Katniss and the other main characters is beautiful, realistic, and heartbreaking. Before watching this final installment, it may do well to watch the previous three films, available on most on demand cable services now (info here), to really experience the evolution of this iconic series.