From the off it’s clear that Mockingjay Part II is a march on The Capitol. It’s a battle that Julianne Moore’s Coin –and the rebels, now including Gwendoline Christie in a brief but enjoyable cameo as District 2’s Commander Lyme – are willing to wage at any cost, much to the despair of a clearly conflicted Katniss.
War and civil war are constantly on the cards, leaving the viewer constantly wondering who might strike at whom next.
When last we saw our star-crossed lovers/fighters, a ‘hijacked’ Peeta had just tried to kill his beloved. Not much has changed in Part II, which opens with Katniss attempting to find her voice again after being strangled and Peeta promising he’s not done with his mission to help her meet her maker.
Gale’s got some serious issues kissing Katniss while she’s coping with Peeta’s mental injuries, and as the trio trundle through the war-torn tale their love triangle takes the same dark twists and turns that kept fans of the plot on edge throughout the final novel.
Donald Sutherland returns to bring the book’s marvellously malevolent villain back to our screens and Snow’s really putting on a killing show this time around.
A scene in the President’s dining room, while predictable, is still utterly chilling. Nobody plays fair in Panem, especially not the leader of the un-free world.
Speaking of Snow’s big show, the Gamemakers’ creations for his latest ‘Hunger Games’ – in which every rebel is a competitor – are nastier and more spine-tingling than ever.
That big black wall of liquid we saw in the trailer is even more deadly when it makes its debut.
Fans of the books will remember a few significant and horrid death scenes from Mockingjay, but two still stand out for many.
The first comes courtesy of Snow’s latest mutant creations and we’re still not over it. In fact, we’re even less over it after watching it.
WHY SUZANNE COLLINS, WHY?
The bodies pile up quite quickly this time around (some might say what’s new, the first three films didn’t exactly have a low death rate) leaving you barely any time to recover from the loss of one character before another falls victim to a Pod or a Peacekeeper or a rebel bomb.
Brace yourselves: Death is coming. Just like it did in the book.
As previously mentioned, Mockingjay was packed with pretty horrible endings for many of the characters but we weren’t sure whether they’d be as graphic on screen.
Don’t worry. They are. You won’t see them coming, but you will see the grim and grisly aftermath. Just like you did in the first three films.
Every. Single. Time.
Julianne Moore proves why she’s perfect for the role in the final instalment, adding new layers of darkness that even Collins couldn’t have given her in the novel.
From her eyes to her voice to her attitude, Coin is every inch the confusing and utterly unreadable would-be ruler of Panem that Mockingjay Part II needs.
Nobody emerged from the pages of Mockingjay feeling great about themselves or the tale, and when the final credits rolled we still felt a bit shellshocked ourselves.
All in all, Part II is a dark ok-ish take on the final chapters of the 390-page novel that closed the book on Katniss and Peeta, but we can’t help but feel Mockingjay would have been better served if a single movie volunteered as tribute.
WHY SUZANNE COLLINS, WHY?
Scream it for yourself when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 opens in UK cinemas on November 19th.