I don’t think I have much to say about this movie, except that it was every bit as boring and strung-out as I expected it to be. Of the three Hunger Games books, Mockingjay is my least favorite because it mostly features Katniss vacillating between Team Peeta and Team Gale, while constantly claiming that she is worthy of neither of them. Whereas the first two books built Katniss up as a strong, courageous young woman, Mockingjay brought her back down to the level of every other YA book, firmly entrenched in the “which boy shall I pick?” trope that is so overdone. The movie was no better.
We pick up where we left off after the first installation – with Peeta having been brainwashed and attempting to choke the life out of Katniss. With Katniss’s help, he eventually regains some of his mental fortitude and joins their army in their effort to take out President Snow. Alma Coin, leader of District 13, is revealed to be every bit as manipulative and power hungry as Snow – as, really, most leaders throughout history have proven themselves to be – and meets her end at Katniss’s bow and arrow. Gale devises a plan to drop explosives on the Capitol, resulting in Prim’s death when she rushes in to help the injured as a medical aide. Katniss can never forgive Gale, she is as broken as ever, blah, blah, blah, cue the heteronormative ending with Katniss and Peeta living happily ever after with their two babies.
I never understood why they decided to split Mockingjay into two parts. Well, I know they did it for money, but if they were going to do that with any of the books, it should have been Catching Fire, whose inclusion of the other victors in the Quarter Quell was ripe with backstories and explorations into what being a victor actually does to a person. This is where we got the greatest amount of character development, and yet the movie focused mainly on the action and glossed over any of the psychological ramifications of victory. It was a lost opportunity – one that was not made up by the slow-paced, “I’m not good enough for Peeta” whinings of Mockingjay. Where The Hunger Games soared in its unabashed offering of a powerful female lead, it ultimately failed when it came time to give her story a suitable ending. This is the books’ failure, to be sure, but the movies did them no favors by dragging out a poorly written conclusion simply because people would pay to see it.