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.
Mockingjay Part 2’s Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer has only gone down a couple of points since our last Review Watch, and that’s mostly due to one negative review that was added during the weekend. As it stands, the film marks an 88% freshness rating, with 3 rotten reviews out of 24 reviews total. As we mentioned last time, keep in mind that these are still the early stages so the score might change yet. The US premiere of the movie will happen next Monday, so we might start hearing about press screenings later this week or over the weekend, and the US wave of reviews will still alter the number, although it’s too early to tell whether that will be for the positive or for the negative. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’s the former, of course.
As of today, the majority of the reviews are still positive, although we did see the lowest score given to the film so far (2/5 stars from Little White Lies, see below). We’re seeing a lot of 4-star reviews, though, and an average rating of 7.2, all of which is sure to give the film good word of mouth at the very least. Here are some of the reviews that have come out since our last Review Watch. As always, reviews with spoilers are marked, so read at your own risk!
- Flicks and the City (4/5, mild spoilers): Comments that the love triangle isn’t her favorite thing in the franchise, but when the boys get the proper chance– and they do in MJ2– they make the best of it. Says the supporting cast is “wow” and “never less than excellent” even if some don’t have a lot of time on screen. Praises Donald as “outstanding,” Woody as “ever superb” and Elizabeth as dazzling. Also mentions Stanley, Julianne, Mahershala, Jeffrey, Sam, Jena and Natalie as great. Mentions that PSH’s performance proves the most emotional. Praises the action sequences in the Capitol, and gives kudos to the technical directors for their job in the movie. Mentions that even if it’s a dark film, there’s still some humor. On the negative, feels some of the foreshadowing and political commentary was a bit too on-the-nose, and the very ending felt unnecessary, but concludes that it was “a fitting conclusion” to the franchise.
- I’m With Geek: Comments about the movie that “they’ve saved one of their best for last.” Praises the young cast, particularly Jennifer for being “unafraid to showcase palpable fear” and Josh, who “understands his character more than anyone and that evolves evocatively on screen.” Also applauds the supporting cast, especially Donald Sutherland. Likes that the love triangle is “pretty much a throwaway secondary plot” to the rest of the franchise’s themes, which have “a truly humanistic side whilst also becoming darker.” Enjoys the deconstruction of the “Chosen One” archetype in Katniss, who is “a captivating, real human girl,” and the level of shock and tension beyond its rating, which “never holds back on the gores of war but never exploits it either.” Concludes the film is “perhaps not quite as good as Catching Fire, but definitely a fiery finale” and calls it “the best blockbuster of the year.”
- FreshFiction.tv (4/5, mild spoilers): States the film is filled with “genuine thrills, gripping tension and rallying hero moments galore.” Praises the movie for letting Katniss “get her hands dirty again,” the character progression, the “unrelenting tension-filled” sewer sequence and the way the movie ties up the themes. Comments on Jena Malone’s performance positively, as well as Elizabeth Banks’ as Effie. In the negative, mentions there’s a moment where “the story is driving the characters rather than the characters driving the story” that she feels the screenwriters could’ve worked better, although she admits that was from the book. Dislikes the book split because “lulls in energy remain present” but in the end calls it a “must-see dramatic conclusion.”
- I Heart the Talkies: Calls the film “a decent blockbuster” that “makes the most of its strong protagonist” so the fans will find it satisfying. Comments that some of it is “predictable for certain” and “keeping with the franchise’s young adult novel roots,” such as the love triangle, which “never felt particularly compelling.” States the movie is “rather bleak” but in a good way, as it “does not shy away from depicting the harsh trials.” Praises the action sequences and the combination of those with more dialogue-heavy scenes. Also applauds Katniss as a lead character, saying “she is strong and commanding, yet still engaged with her humanity” and giving kudos to Jennifer’s performance. Makes a mention of Josh’s “meatier part” and calls Julianne “decent” as Coin.
- Little White Lies (2/5, SPOILERS!): Starts the review quoting Eliot’s “not with a bang but with a whimper,” calling the film “flat” and “disappointingly lacking in tension and satirical bite.” Dislikes its “plodding nature” as opposed to Part 1’s more “rounded, stand-alone film.” What little excitement there is she attributes to the world-building, production design and Jennifer’s performance, but everything else is “a tide of tedium,” with the film overall being proficient, which “is not the same as exciting.” Likes Jennifer’s lead but finds the script gives her a “lack of definition” as compared to Part 1, which in turn extends to the entire film. Dislikes the monochromatic nature of the film, and the sidelining of the supporting characters, particularly saddened by PSH’s being so absent. As for the love triangle, sates that “Liam Hemsworth at peak woodenness” while Josh “has more sound and fury.” Also in the negative is “a twist that is so poorly plotted that when it happens it means nothing.” Praises Donald’s performance as the “perfect counterpoint” to Jennifer’s strength, who she says “never phones it in.”
- TwitchFilm (mild spoilers): Applauds Francis Lawrence’s balance between the film’s themes, the action and the emotional parts. Calls Jennifer’s performance “strong, subtle and sensitive,” and also enjoys the supporting performances, especially Julianne and Woody. Comments on PSH’s final performance as a “bittersweet reminder of his bottomless talents.” In the negative, states that the film “doesn’t always hold on to its momentum” but concludes that it’s “an emotional spectacle that seeks to do much more than entertain.”
- Fliks.com.au (3/5): Starts off by saying the books are “mostly awful, something the films, though expertly made, have to constantly overcome.” States the movie “takes an age to get going” but praises the action sequences, particularly the sewer scenes. Applauds Jennifer’s performance as “world class” but adds that the love triangle “limps to a conclusion.” Bemoans the sidelining of the supporting cast and comments that PSH’s Plutarch was “clumsily written in” after his passing. More negatives are the “endless, slightly cringey speeches” and the “dreadful Harry Potter-like coda.” Concludes that the film is “one hour of excitement mixed with another of mush,” but that comes straight from the source.
- Film and TV Now (SPOILERS!): Comments that “the pace begins and continues to be slow” after Part 1, and that some supporting characters are “missed with next to no screen time,” while those that are still prominent, like Haymitch, had their comedic flare cut short. Praises the sewer sequences for being “excellently executed and tensely claustrophobic,” and Sam Claflin’s performance for “quickly [proving] his worth.” Applauds the “focus on the aftermath of violence; its effects and consequences, rather than the act itself,” especially Jennifer’s representation of it in her performance. In the negative, despite “a conventional happy ending,” “the final face off with Snow feels rushed,” and he also questions the “uncertainness and sadness” of the final scenes.
- Miami Herald (3/4): Calls the film “grim, relentless and immensely satisfying,” noting its fidelity to the source material. Praises Francis Lawrence’s direction and the depth he’s given to these films, leading to a “war movie, albeit on an intimate scale” in Mockingjay Part 2. States the sewer mutts are “extremely well rendered” and that it never quite hits the rush of a full-on action movie, but this is a good thing: the “sense of dread permeates the movie” leads to it not being predictable. Applauds the focus on Katniss and Jennifer’s performance, and feels the book split “makes sense.”
What do you think of the reviews we’ve been getting over the past few days? Are you happy that they’re mostly positive? Do any of the comments in the negative reviews make you worried? Sound off in the comments and let us know how you feel about all of this.