To explode a 'Mockingjay'

By: 
Josh Presley
FIlm Critic

After three years — yes, the first installment was released just three years ago — it's time to bid farewell to the "Hunger Games" series.
I tried to temper any excitement for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2," despite my love of the first two films in the series and mild indifference to the third, due to my feeling that "Mockingjay" is the absolute dirt worst of the "Hunger Games" books.
Still, this isn't the book, so I went into the theater with a fresh perspective and an optimistic outlook only to discover that, yes, it's as bad as the book. Well, maybe not "as bad," but it's still clearly the worst of the series.
"Mockingjay Part 2" picks up from the end of part 1, with things looking dire for Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her pals. The collective of freedom fighters from throughout the 13 districts (a rebel alliance, if you will) are planning to storm the Capitol and remove mustache-twirlingly evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) from power and topple his oppressive regime.
Katniss leads a small group on a daring assassination mission inside the capital as the rebel army attacks the outer walls. There are new alliances, double crosses, monsters and so, so many explosions.
Let's talk about the explosions, since they seem to be the only thing that happens in the movie. "Mockingjay Part 2" contains possibly the largest amount of explosions I've ever seen in a film, and probably made Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich shed a tear.
Director Francis Lawrence seems intent on not only cramming the movie full of explosions, but also surprising you with each one. This movie has more jump scares than most modern horror flicks, and the majority of them come from dumb explosions. It becomes tedious and eventually irritating after a while.
As for the non explosion-based jolts, one of them leads to the movie's best action scene, though the buildup drags on for entirely too long. Speaking of said action scene, it does highlight Francis Lawrence's steady directing hand, as he keeps the action fast-paced yet discernible. This is a far cry from the shaky cam madness of the first "Hunger Games," and perhaps the only real improvement to the later entries in the series.
The movie also has an increasingly dour tone, with moments of humor few and far between, which left the audience to laugh at inappropriate times out of some desperate need for levity.
In the end, the best thing I can say about "Mockingjay Part 2" is that it's over and we can all move on from the "Hunger Games" series. I loved the first two entries in the series, but the story peters out long before it reaches its conclusion. The movie is unsatisfying, but a few scenes pull it out of the dregs. I doubt my opinion will sway anyone from seeing the fourth film in a billion dollar franchise, anyway, but lower your expectations.
Then again, what do I know? The crowd I saw the movie with clapped at the end. I thought, and almost said aloud, "really?"

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