Last night marked the end of a brief but beautiful era; Mockingjay Part 2, the final movie in of the Hunger Games series, finally released in theaters. The end of the revolution is upon us.
Personally, I absolutely loved the movie. It followed the book well- every heart wrenching page of it- and I felt it did justice to the series as a whole. I was honestly terrified to go see it, not because I was worried it would be no good, but because I knew exactly what I was in for. Those of us who have read the books knew just how traumatic this movie was going to be. And I’m going to warn you right now; it hurts. Oh lordy, does it hurt. But it is such a fantastic freaking movie.
I honestly struggle to put into words how much I love this series. It is one of my absolute favorites, second only to Harry Potter. I have a real soft spot for stories about people coming together to fight seemingly unstoppable forces in any context- I got choked up watching the Fairytail Guild band together against the other guild when Levi got attacked- so when people are coming together to fight against an oppressive government? Oh man, feels everywhere. The Hunger Games books are just so raw, so powerful, so real, and I am so happy that the movies did such an amazing job bringing them to life. I cannot wait until all four of them have been released on DVD so I can add them to my marathon queue, right beside Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
From what I’ve read, however, the movie has not gone over well with critics, and while I disagree with their assessment of the movie, I also understand where they are coming from. They say the pacing was off, that it feels incomplete unless you move straight into it from the other 3, that it fails to stand as a film on its own. But to be honest, what they all hated about the movie is exactly what I loved about it; it was an honest adaptation of the book.
Mockingjay Part 2 starts very abruptly. There is no transitional scene to reintroduce viewers to the universe of the films; it simply opens with Katniss being checked out by a doctor after being attacked by Peeta at the end of the last movie. It does not so much feel like the beginning of a movie as it does a continuation after a commercial break. Basically the movie makes no attempt to really stand on its own; it is very clearly a continuation. And while I can understand the criticism there, I actually loved it. It does not waste anytime with extra unnecessary scenes. The movie starts exactly where Mockingjay Part 1 left off. And the whole movie pretty much goes on that way.
Basically, for those of us who read the books the movie is phenomenal, because it follows the story almost to a T (it has admittedly been awhile since I’ve read the book, but it hits all the important bits at least). There were actually a few scenes that I understood better after having seen them on the big screen than I did when I first read the book (being intentionally vague: Katniss’ vote, and the final “real or not real?” moment). And as hard as a number of the scenes were to watch (cue suppressed sobbing), most of the key scenes and settings looked exactly how I pictured them- especially the bit in the sewers. In my opinion, they absolutely nailed it.
That said, I can also see why those who did not read the books might not feel the same way. The critics aren’t wrong- the movie doesn’t entirely stand on its own. Personally I don’t care- the movie is literally the second half of a single book; why try to make it into something else? The Hunger Games series is a really important series to me, so as long as they do justice to the characters and the power behind the story, I’m happy. But for someone who is not invested in the series, I can totally see the movie feeling like it was somehow incomplete.
Regardless of what the critics have to say, I think the movie was fantastic. Was it my favorite of the 4? No, that is still a tie between Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1. But the fangirl in me was more than satisfied with the finale and I still give Mockingjay Part 2 five out of five stars!
Did you love Mockingjay Part 2 as much as I did or do you agree with the critics? And if you haven’t seen it, are you planning to?