Mockingjay Part 2, the final installment in The Hunger Games series, premiered in Berlin on Wednesday, and so far, the reviews indicate the odds are ever in the franchise’s favor.
While many critics and fans are still grumbling over the decision to split Mockingjay in to two parts, it seems that Mockingjay Part 2 takes up where Part 1 left off. According to Entertainment Weekly‘s Leah Greenblatt, Part 2 opens mid-scene “as if the pause button on Part 1 just wore out its one-year warranty,” which should satisfy dedicated Hunger Games fans who feared they would miss any moments of character transitions.
The Mockingjay herself, Katniss Everdeen portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, is still recovering from her near death experience and Peeta Melark played by Josh Hutcherson is still trying to re-train his tortured brain. Peter Debruge with Variety commends Mockingjay Part 2 for providing the audience “with one of the heartiest character arcs ever afforded a young female protagonist.”
While many critics fawned over the acting abilities of the Mockingjay cast (which should not come as a surprise considering how many Oscar winners are represented on the call sheet) it seemed that it was the intense emotion of Part 2 that garnered the most praise.
A handful of critics pointed to the sadness in realizing the level of talent lost by the filmmaking community with the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman during the final days of shooting Mockingjay Part 2. Others seemed to feel gut punched by what happened to the characters themselves. Several critics referred to Part 2 as a “war movie,” rather than what one would expect from a blockbuster franchise.
Scott Mendelson of Forbes admits that he had not read the Hunger Games book series and was certain to lay his heart wrenching discoveries throughout the film out in his review:
“Mockingjay Part 2 is something of a grand punchline to what turns out to be an incredibly dark joke. It is as thrillingly bold and brave as any franchise finale I can remember. And in retrospect I should have trusted the filmmakers from the beginning…the fact that we’ve known some of these characters for two movies (Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2) instead of just one heightens the emotional impact when the end comes, and the fates are decided.”
Yes, that right moviegoers. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games’ book series and have no idea what to expect out of Mockingjay Part 2, rather than share any spoilers, let’s just say that tissues might be an appropriate side item with your popcorn.
The Hunger Games film series is based on the best selling books of the same name by author Suzanne Collins. The series centers around Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl who rises from obscurity as an unlikely hero when she takes the place of her younger sister Prim in a government orchestrated match to the death. Katniss evolves into “the Mockingjay”, a reluctant leader of a nation that no longer wants to be dominated by an overreaching government.
While Mockingjay Part 1 performed slightly lower than expected at the box office, it still managed to pull in more than $755 million worldwide–more than six times its production budget according to Box Office Mojo. Mockingjay Part 2 is expected to surpass Part 1 despite stiff competition from another highly anticipated series film debuting a month later, Star Wars The Force Awakens.
The cast of Mockingjay Part 2 will gather in London November 5, Paris November 9, and Los Angeles November 16 before Hunger Games fans flock to theaters to see the series finale when Mockingjay Part 2 opens November 20, 2015.
[Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 cover photo courtesy of Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Entertainment.]