I’ve just had the pleasure of watching the final installment of The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay Part 2.
Katniss Everdeen is recovering after being attacked by Peeta Mellark, who has been brainwashed (hijacked) by the Capitol. The rebels attack and disable the Capitol’s weapons arsenal in District 2.
Despite Katniss’ desire to kill President Snow personally, Alma Coin refuses to allow her into battle, as she is too valuable to risk losing. At Finnick and Annie’s wedding, Johanna Mason suggests Katniss sneak aboard a supply ship leaving for the Capitol, where Commander Paylor is planning an invasion.
Unable to bring her back, Coin has her assigned to the “Star Squad”, led by Boggs and includes Gale, Finnick, Cressida, Messalla, Castor, Pollux, Jackson, the Leeg twins, Mitchell, and Homes; they will follow in relative safety behind the actual invasion of the Capitol providing video of their incursion for propaganda purposes. Boggs carries a holographic map (the “Holo”) to help them evade known booby trapped “pods” which line the streets of the Capitol. Coin also sends Peeta to join the squad, even though he has not fully recovered from the Capitol’s conditioning.
As they venture deeper into the Capitol, Boggs triggers a pod which sets off a land mine and fatally wounds him, and transfers command of the Holo to Katniss before dying. The squad triggers another pod, which releases a flood of lethal black tar. Peeta momentarily succumbs to his conditioning and attacks Katniss, pushing Mitchell into the tar and killing him. The group takes shelter in an abandoned building, where Jackson, the second-in-command, attempts to commandeer the Holo, until Katniss convinces them she is under secret orders from Coin to kill Snow.
Katniss and most of the group escape just before a squad of Peacekeepers arrive and destroy the building, killing the Leeg twins. The Capitol broadcasts a message announcing Katniss’s death, which is interrupted by Coin, who delivers an impassioned eulogy for her, to rally the rebels.
The team descends into the Capitol’s sewers to avoid further pods, but they are attacked by a horde of genetically engineered creatures called “mutts”. Jackson, Castor, and Homes are killed as the squad flees through the sewers. Finnick is overwhelmed as he fights off the swarm to allow the team to escape, forcing Katniss to set the Holo’s self-destruct, killing him and the remaining mutts. The surviving team members reach the surface but are chased by Peacekeepers, and Messalla is killed by a pod that melts and disintegrates him. The team takes refuge in a shop, where Tigris, a former Hunger Games stylist and rebel sympathizer, hides them in her basement.
As rebel forces gain ground, Snow invites fleeing Capitol citizens into his mansion for protection. Katniss and Gale join the crowd, posing as refugees to gain access to Snow. Rebels arrive and attack, killing many in the crossfire. In the chaos, Katniss pushes forward to Snow’s mansion, where Peacekeepers are herding Capitol children toward the closed gates.
A hovercraft flies overhead, and drops small parcels by parachute into the pen of children. The parcels explode, killing a minor population of the Capitol children and citizens. A team of rebel medics attempt to help the injured, among whom is Katniss’s sister Prim. As Katniss rushes forward to get Prim out, a second wave of bombs detonate, killing Prim and knocking Katniss unconscious.
Upon recovering, Katniss learns the Capitol has been conquered, and Snow captured. When Katniss confronts Snow, he explains that Coin orchestrated the bombing outside his mansion to turn his soldiers against him, as he would have no real reason to bomb the children. When Katniss accuses him of lying, he reminds her that they promised not to lie to each other.
She realizes that the incident resembles a trap that Gale had developed earlier. When Gale is unable to assure Katniss that the bombs were not of his design, Katniss cuts all ties with him. Coin invites the remaining Hunger Games victors to vote on a proposal to have another Hunger Games using the children of the Capitol as a symbolic gesture to satisfy the districts. Katniss swings the vote in favor, in exchange for the right to execute Snow personally.
At the execution, Katniss shoots and kills Coin instead of Snow. The rebels take Katniss into custody while Snow is killed by an angry mob. Katniss received a letter from Plutarch Heavensbee on her actions and assured that she will eventually be pardoned by the newly appointed President of Panem for her crime and will be able return to District 12 once the dissension quiets.
At District 12 she is joined by Peeta, who has recovered from his condition. Commander Paylor is elected the new President of Panem, and Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch bond over their shared trauma. Years later, Katniss and Peeta play with their two children, as Katniss contemplates the nightmares of her past and how she copes with them, and somberly reflects that “there are much worse games to play.”
It was a very good film, and a strong ending to the series. It rounded off the plot nicely, and added a few extras in that were well received. The acting and direction were once again the strong point of the film, highlighting the wealth of talent on display. Definitely a film, and a series, that I’d recommend.
Thanks for reading.