Is it a spoiler alert to hum a certain Who song before reviewing 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2?'
Suffice to say the classic line starts with, “… meet the new boss.”
The last “Hunger Games” film checks off everything we expect in a series finale. It features multiple endings like the last “Lord of the Rings” movie and a farewell to some franchise regulars. The fourth film can’t shake the flaws that have nagged the previous installments, but fans of the source material will be too busy cheering to complain. Franchise newbies, though, will be shocked at the cynicism coating the final half hour.
If you thought the current presidential contest was alarming, just wait to you see where Katniss goes in the film’s waning moments.
She’ll do as told for now, but she’s distracted by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), her erstwhile love interest recovering from Snow’s mind-altering torture.
“Mockingjay Part 2” isn’t political in the traditional left/right sense, and it won’t be easily claimed by either side. Co-screenwriter Danny Strong, known for hyper-partisan fare like “Game Change” and “Recount,” trains his fire on politics as a whole. He’s got little good to say about it.
There’s a dash of moral relativism in Katniss’ rage, even as fellow rebel Gale Hawthorne (a bland Liam Hemsworth) insists, “sometimes killing isn’t personal.” It’s quickly shoved aside, thank goodness, for a series of battle sequences and Katniss’ true quest.
It’s up to our heroine to embody our frustration at the process, a task she’s more than ready to tackle. Then again, what can’t Lawrence do with this franchise? She’s beautiful and tough, bruised but unbowed by adversity. Could any other young actress anchor the franchise as expertly as she?
Once more parents should think twice before taking their children to see a Suzanne Collins story brought to the big screen. One fight between the rebels and humanoid monsters is as scary as anything from “The Descent.” Still, the threats lurking behind even a just rebellion offer a cautionary tale today’s teens should hear.
It wouldn’t be a “Hunger Games” film without that weak tea love triangle, and the saga’s teen angst playbook still has a few dog-eared pages. The series remains a distant second to the “Harry Potter” films, a franchise that matured with each installment.
“Mockingjay Part 2” is still riveting, mainstream entertainment, one with the appropriate amount of cynicism for our age.
DID YOU KNOW: Donald Sutherland snared the role of President Snow by sending original ‘Hunger Games’ director Gary Ross a 3-page letter in character.