The Hunger Games movie franchise has finally come to a close with Mockingjay Part 2, the second half of the third installment of Suzanne Collins' bestselling dystopian trilogy. As the trend is set by other final films, we expect the Hunger Games' finale to be epic. But don't get your hopes up. Mockingjay Part 2 is not as action-packed as we wanted it to be.

The film unconcernedly ditched the blockbuster format in exchange for intense, thought-provoking scenes. It presented a grim, depressing tale of the shell-shocking effects of war, rather than glorifying the heroics of the rebellion. It's a turbulent and aggressive film but is at the same time, lonely and melancholic. So as a result, Mockingjay Part 2 suffers from an anti-climactic, uneven pacing.

Mark says: Carrying its sins from the first Mockingjay film, Mockingjay Part 2 is still too long, confusing and, half of the time, sleep-inducing. It pains me to see that Mockingjay's level of production and plethora of rich cast is wasted by Part 2's pacing. We all assumed that Part 2 was going to follow Harry Potter's model of doing all the establishing scenes in Part 1 and making an epic action-packed conclusion in the second half but apparently, Mockingjay Part 2 is still just a continuation of the long-winded pacing of the first.

Faithful to the source material, the film focuses on the rebels' infiltration into the Capital. Katniss Everdeen, now a symbol rather than a person, is tasked to shoot propos for the rebellion instead of staying at the front lines of battle. Knowing she's a pawn in President Coin's game, Katniss obliges. She plans to kill President Snow anyway.

Her team weaves through the Capital to get to Snow's manor, avoiding pods (traps) that the Gamemakers have set up. It's like the Hunger Games all over again, as Finnick Odair remarked. This is where most of the thrilling scenes take place. We see the team, which includes Gale, Finnick, Cressida and later on, an unstable Peeta, encounter deadly traps and engage in intense urban warfare. One notable sequence is when they take an underground route, as suggested by one of the team. Viewers will begin to hold their breath as the film switches to a suspenseful, eerie tone that greatly complements the claustrophobic situation Katniss and company have gotten themselves into.

Jon says: That underground sequence was fantastic. Highly entertaining at some point, really. Sneaking through tunnels underneath, holding up some weird device that "beeps" every moment or two. It's very nostalgic to "Aliens." Did Ridley Scott direct this film? Or was it James Cameron? Always seem to switch between those two. It's just sad, whoever's last to leave is the one who will never.

For a movie that's geared towards young adults, Mockingjay Part 2 is filled mostly with horrifying moments. It is a war film without the glory, a story about death and suffering, about how nobody wins. Again, this is true to the message that Suzanne Collins wanted to send out through her books.

One of the bigger faults of this film is the lack of build-up towards a major character's death. The script focused too much on Peeta and Katniss that it left out establishing her relationships with other people.

Stef says: It must be frustrating for fans of the book series, because that was a pivotal (and devastating) event in the book, and to see it not play out properly is very disappointing.

Mark says: Mockingjay had a lot of potential relationships and a great potential to strum the heartstrings of a lot of audience. But even with the best ingredients, Mockingjay has failed to establish that connection to us.

It's no secret that The Hunger Games movies have a superb cast ensemble. Jennifer Lawrence proves once again that her talent is meant for greater things. The book was told through Katniss' perspective, so everything that she felt, she described in detail. The challenge of the movie was to channel all of her emotions visually, and Lawrence did an excellent job. From the charismatic way she delivered her speeches to the gut-wrenching sorrow she displayed after losing so many loved ones.

Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Jenna Malone and Natalie Dormer deserve props too for playing their roles well and for being a good supporting cast. Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland gave outstanding performances as Coin and Snow respectively. Although, the other big stars were cast to the sidelines, appearing only for a few moments in the entire film. Woody Harrelson's Haymitch and Elizabeth Banks' Effie Trinket, who usually provide the comic relief, were now restricted to a few but meaningful interactions with Katniss.  

And then of course, there's the solemn onscreen presence of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Stef says: After the war, there is a scene where Haymitch reads to Katniss a letter from Plutarch. It was absolutely crushing to hear Haymitch read the last words, "I wish I could have given you a proper goodbye." With Mockingjay Part 2 being Hoffman's last film, it was only fitting to give him this subtle but moving tribute.

Mockingjay Part 2 may somewhat be a mess of a film, but it delivered its closure alright, just not one that ends on a happy note. The last quarter of Mockingjay Part 2 consisted of a series of "final" scenes that prolong the actual ending. It even included an epilogue, where it shows Katniss years after the war.

Jon says: The penultimate scene nailed the ending, for me. It worked. But, it seemed they wanted a little more of a showing of hope, a slight twinkle that lets people know that things are going to be all right. Surely, the film's ending was satisfying, and felt happier compared to its book counterpart.

As we bid farewell to the movie series, let's always be reminded that there's always hope at the end of the dark tunnel.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

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