If you haven’t yet read our fellow Jabberjays’ reviews of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, I highly encourage you all to go read them! These are reviews from fans to fans, completely spoiler-free, and giving you a real idea of what you can expect from the movie. You can read Ciara’s review here, and Sarah’s here.
As expected, Mockingjay Part 2’s 100% tomatometer streak didn’t last long: it dawned this morning at a 94%, and as I type this it stands at an 89%, with two rotten reviews out of a total of 18. But don’t let those outlets saying the movie has received “mixed reviews” make you fret, though, as again, we knew this was coming, and it’s a given that not everyone is going to like the film. What matters is that the response has been mostly positive so far (dear entertainment outlets: please check your math), and as more and more reviews are added we expect this trend to continue.
Here are some of the reviews that hit the web since our previous review watch; some of them have already been added to Rotten Tomatoes and some of them haven’t, so expect those numbers to still fluctuate by this time tomorrow. Reviews with spoilers are marked, so take that into account when you click on the links.
- MTV (mild spoilers): Praises the darker themes and the focus on the consequences of war, as well as Jennifer’s performance (“she’s never been better”) with her strength and her chemistry with Josh. Applauds both the thrill of the Capitol assault and the character moments in-between. Comments that Liam has made Gale “more of a well-rounded character” but Josh’s scenes are “incredibly moving.” Enjoys the final scene between Katniss, Snow and Coin, as well as Buttercup’s presence.
- List Film (3/5): Calls it a “long and fairly lacklustre end” to the franchise, criticizing the book split because it makes the movies lack momentum (save for the Capitol scenes). Describes Francis Lawrence’s direction as “brisk, workmanlike,” but calls the action scenes “brilliantly realized.” Criticizes the slower pace of the final act and the “obvious” twists, stating that “even Lawrence feels like she’s outgrown this role,” and the film is “functional rather than fantastic.”
- The Telegraph (4/5, SPOILERS!): Calls this installment “electrifying, high-stakes,” commenting on Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final performance as a standout. Praises the deconstruction of the “Chosen One” trope in Katniss, the grander scale and stakes, and the supporting performances, noting Donald Sutherland and Natalie Dormer as some of the best.
- The Standard: (3/5, SPOILERS!): Criticizes the book split, saying “there’s not enough material left to sustain the sequel.” Puts down the pace as “slow but jerky” and talks disparagingly about the Peeta/Katniss scenes in-between the action moments. States that Julianne is “not at her subtlest,” Jennifer is “clearly too good for the film she’s in,” Donald as “sneery, old” and Josh as “too humdrum looking to hold the screen with Jennifer.” Does like that there’s a Games element in this one, and calls the sewer sequence “truly scary.” Does not like the “soppy and excessive” ending.
- Empire (4/5): Describes the film as “relentlessly solemn” and an “astonishingly tense war movie,” praising the treatment of PTSD, Francis Lawrence’s “stunning action beats,” and Jennifer’s “tough as nails” performance. The one negative is the script, which leave one tragedy “brushed aside” and make the love triangle “fall flat.” Notes PSH’s final performance as some of the best of the movie.
- Games Radar (4/5, SPOILERS!): States Part 2 is an improvement on the “draggy” Part 1, commenting positively on the scale of the action, but at the same time praising the claustrophobic sewer scenes and the satirical messages overall, the focus on the cost of war. On the negative, states it does get clunky at times and the dialogue sometimes falters; bemoans the reduced screentime of some of the supporting players, and deems the love triangle to be “inconsequential to the story.” Praises Jennifer’s performance, and makes mention of PSH’s last turn as Plutarch. Concludes that “the stakes feel genuinely high,” but still believes one film would’ve been better than two.
- The Daily Mail (3/5): Criticizes the book split, mainly because “Part 1 suffered,” but praises the action scenes as “exhilarating,” along with Francis Lawrence’s world-building. Dislikes the lack of levity, calling the movie “relentlessly dark.”
- Radio Times (4/5): Notes PSH’s performance as “poignant,” and the sewer sequence as “excruciatingly tense and ultimately ferocious.” In the negative, states that some of the action scenes have been “edited into incoherency” to achieve the rating, lessening their impact, while other pivotal moments feel rushed. Praises Jennifer’s performance as her “finest hour in the franchise,” and commends the supporting cast, particularly the strong females, with special mention to Jena’s “bald, bruised” Johanna. Concludes the movie is “routinely stirring, occasionally gut-punching and [with] enough variety,” while the script is “smart and sincere” allowing for a film “of genuine integrity performed with compelling conviction.”
- NME.com (3/5): Comments that the adaptation is faithful to the book instead of improving on the book’s flaws. Praises Francis Lawrence’s treatment of the sewer sequence and the climax, as well as the script, which “makes strongly, but subtly, clear the story’s sophisticated themes.” Calls the ending “dour” although it’s the best they could do with the source material.
- International Business Times (4/5, SPOILERS!): States the story is “told more subjectively,” and calls the movie “the most involving chapter.” Points out there are pacing issues as Katniss & co. are “miles behind the real fight,” and the sporadic threats can be “hard to follow,” although the action scenes are “the most thrilling.” Praises the darker tone for pushing the movie beyond its YA roots, appreciating that the love triangle “consistently comes secondary” — for which she applauds the screenwriters. Points out the melancholy brought by PSH’s last performance.
- SciFiNow (4/5): Points out that “a couple of the hotly anticipated key scenes from the book aren’t anywhere near as affecting in film form,” but adds that the film does make up for it. Praises Jennifer’s performance as well as Josh’s (who is “practically playing a different character” although still as likable as before), but the standout is Donald, who “overshadows all the other players.” Does not feel the movie is stretched, and calls it “thrilling, nail-biting and devastating.”
- Cine Vue (4/5, mild spoilers): Applauds the darker tone, even though there are few laughs. Praises Jennifer’s performance Francis’ direction, stating he has “[found] the story’s emotional beats and [made] them sing.” Some negative points are pacing issues (he believes Mockingjay would’ve worked better as one movie) and the “utterly redundant” love triangle, which he regrets as better characterization for Gale and Peeta in this movie means they could’ve stood out on their own. Other points he considers good are the death traps in the Capitol, the focus on propaganda, and supporting performances such as Michelle Forbes’.
- FlickReel (4/5): Praises the linearity of the franchise, despite the “underwhelming” Mockingjay Part 1, but adds that watching both Mockingjay movies back-to-back makes for “a truly rewarding experience” as Part 2 is “an epic, powerful conclusion.” Also applauds the franchise for “transcending and subverting” YA tropes, and states this movie will “perched on the edge of your seat throughout” as it’s fast-paced and “desperately intense.” Notes Jennifer’s performance as great, as well as Donald’s and Josh’s, and conveys sadness at this being PSH’s last role. Concludes “the pacing and structure are impressive” but dislikes the drawn-out, “overwhelming” final sequence.
- MTV UK (4/5): Declares the sewer sequence as the best part of the movie, Johanna and Buttercup as standouts, and concludes the film is “explosive, stunning, appropriately fiery and a fitting, phenomenal and powerful end.”
- Geek Nation: Describes the film as an “often unpredictable, tonally consistent ride of explosions and emotional beatings,” praising its originality and the focus on its political and emotional themes, mainly thanks to director Francis Lawrence. Applauds Jennifer’s performance, which “[merges] both the blockbuster persona and dramatic actress into one” and bringing a “real emotional center” to Katniss. Comments the pace makes it succeed as a war film, with action scenes that are “both thrilling and suffocating,” particularly the sewer sequence. Likes the Katniss PoV and the stunt choreography, also taking as a positive how faithful the film is to the source. Considers the ending “a satisfying emotional catharsis.”
- The Upcoming (3/5): Posits that it builds on Part 1, carrying along the conflict “intelligently,” although claims the story is slower than expected, with action scenes “few and far between.” The slower moments allow for character development, however, and the action scenes are “well worth the wait,” coming off as tense, anxious and claustrophobic. Praises Francis Lawrence’s direction and concludes the movie is “sleek, stylish and with enough special effects to keep action-lovers entertained” but might appeal more to general audiences than to hardcore fans.
- The Hollywood News (4/5): Points out the darker tone and the war theme, expressing surprise at its rating and applauds Francis Lawrence for not sugar-coating the grittier parts of the story — although she does mention there are a few witty one-liners. Praises Jennifer’s performance and the way the love triangle is kept in the background. States there’s not as much plot but the action makes up for it, with the Capitol sequences standing out. On the negative side, she does find the ending overlong, and bemoans the under-utilization of some of the supporting players. Concludes the film is “devastating and powerful; a brutal ending to an epic saga.”
- Asos Likes (SPOILERS!): Calls the movie “epic” and “a real shocker” that will have you jumping in your seat even if you already know what’s coming. Comments positively on the Gale/Peeta scene, as well as Peeta’s hijacked-rage moments. Praises Jennifer’s portrayal of Katniss (although she didn’t love “her outfit choices, which are confusing to say the least”) and the Capitol action sequences. Concludes that “you will leave the cinema feeling all kinds of emotions, but disappointment will not be one.”
So what do you make of these reviews? Was there one you liked most, or least? Do they make you feel more excited or more dreadful than yesterday’s did? Sound off in the comments, we’d love to know what you think!