The Hunger Games’ blockbuster finale

THE long, bittersweet journey of Katniss Everdeen is coming to an end. The young archer from District 12 who became the toast of Panem after conquering the Hunger Games has been transformed into the battle-scarred Mockingjay, the shining inspiration for the uprising against the totalitarian regime of President Snow. The rebel forces have seized the upper hand and are massing for the final battle, the attack on the Capitol.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is the concluding episode of a four part film series based on Suzanne Collins’ young adult book. Unlike other franchises that have been spoiled by too many sequels, the Hunger Games is a complete, cohesive tale, not unlike a novel that makes the reader feel good after finishing the last chapter.

Part 2 runs for close to two hours and 30 minutes but there are no lingering gaps because the action flows smoothly from scene to scene. No distracting flashbacks, no long explanatory discourses disrupt the crescendo for the big wind-up.

Part 1 ended with the rescue of Peeta and the other Victors from the Capitol. But there is a hitch: “Hijacked” (brainwashed) and tortured by his captors, Peeta sees Katniss as the enemy he must kill at all cost. He almost strangles Katniss before he is restrained, leaving her voiceless.

In Part 2 Katniss begins to recover her voice. But more than that, she now has a steely determination to kill Snow for what he has done to Peeta. Fulfilling her role as the figurehead for the rebellion, she joins a special unit assigned to infiltrate the Capitol. A camera crew will tag along to film Katniss for propaganda purposes.

At the last minute, Peeta, who has more or less recovered, joins the team, which also includes Gale, Katniss’ best friend from District 12.

The infiltration turns out to be a suicide mission. Snow’s forces have turned the ruins of the Capitol into one big minefield. Katniss’ team has to evade a variety of booby traps, and barely escapes drowning under a torrent of black, deadly ooze.

Katniss finally arrives at the gate of Snow’s mansion, and here the story takes one final twist that will not only test her conviction to kill Snow but make her question the intentions of the new regime.

Part 2 reveals how complex the relationship between Katniss and Snow has become. They are more than arch enemies. Fate has so intertwined their lives and created an almost spiritual bond between them. Snow’s devious smile hides a feeling of respect and admiration for the girl who has defied and outsmarted him. Katniss believed she could still trust Snow and felt betrayed after he tortured and hijacked Peeta.

Now the two finally arrive at the inevitable confrontation.

The Hunger Games series bestowed full star power on Jennifer Lawrence, and rightly so. Despite subsequent appearances in another successful franchise, X-Men, she will always be remembered as Katniss the Mockingjay.

Part 2 is the perfect closer to the successful series because of the continuity Director Francis Lawrence provides. Lawrence also handled Catching Fire and Part 1, so he brings over that familiar feel to Part 2.

Lawrence also shifts the film’s mode from fantasy adventure to war movie epic. Compared to the first two movies, the war in Part 2 “is essentially an arena,” he explains in an earlier online interview. “There are definitely shared themes throughout the entire series. This is the movie where all of the themes coalesce. The last one was about propaganda and the media and the manipulation of imagery. Those aspects and the consequences of war and violence all come together here."

Eat your heart out, Maze Runner and Divergent.

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