Mockingjay exceeds expect

Rhiannon Stroberg, Features Editors

“Mockingjay Part 2,” the second part of the final installment of the popular movie franchise “The Hunger Games” hit theaters on Nov. 20, and as a fan of the books, I was excited to see if “Mockingjay Part 2” met my expectations.

Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role for the last time as Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire who volunteered as tribute in place of her sister Primrose Everdeen and won the hearts of the people of Panem with her on-screen romance with her District 12 Hunger Games male tribute Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson.

The film kicks off to where it originally left off, with Katniss getting treatment and speech therapy after being nearly strangled to death by her brainwashed estranged on-screen lover, Peeta.

Katniss had learned that President Snow injected Peeta with tracker jacker venom to alter his memories to make Peeta turn against Katniss, the one person he loved, and for him to see her as an enemy. Katniss sees proof that Peeta hates her and wants her dead when they use Primrose as bait to see if he remembers a familiar face without triggering his hatred toward Katniss.

After seeing that, Katniss is angry and wants to storm the Capitol, but she is informed that they still need District 2 to join the revolution so Katniss is sent there, along with her camera crew and Gale Hawthorne, her potential real-life lover who is played by Liam Hemsworth, to try and get District 2 on the rebel’s side.

They infiltrate an explosion that completely barricaded District 2 workers and the rebels held any survivors, who escaped through the train tunnel, hostage. Katniss is then held hostage by some guy from District 2 but is let go after talking to him. Katniss delivers a speech telling District 2 to recognize who the real enemy is, but her speech ends with her being shot in her bulletproof Mockingjay suit causing bruising to her ribs and lung.

After hearing of Peeta’s improvements, Katniss is used to see if she triggers Peeta’s angry outbursts. She becomes upset when she sees Peeta speaking rudely and negatively toward her when she decides that she wants to join the combat team to invade the Capitol to take down Snow. President Coin of District 13 refused to let Katniss go. Katniss develops a plan to join the combat team that included Peeta, Gale, Finnick Odair, a tribute from District 4 and an ally with Katniss and Peeta, along with the camera crew and a few other people that don’t play a large part in the movie.

Once the team is assembled on the outskirts of the Capitol, the action begins which completely balances out the lack of action that was missing in “Mockingjay Part 1.” They must fight their way to the Capitol with different killing pods that can be triggered with slight movement. “Let the seventy-sixth Hunger Games begin,” Finnick said mockingly after learning that the Capitol was laced with these various destructive pods that were controlled by Gamemakers in an attempt to kill off the invading rebels.

The part that freaked me out the most was the creepy zombie-like lizard creatures that attacked Katniss and her squad, killing an important member of their team. After that incident, the movie seemed to go by pretty fast but not without sweeps of sadness rushing over me after another important character of the series is killed.

An emotionally charged scene that had Katniss’ mentor Haymitch Abernathy, played by actor Woody Harrelson, reading a letter from Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character Plutarch Heavensbee, the Gamemaker that helped Katniss escape the arena during the Quarter Quell and helped aid her in her mission, had me reaching for the tissues I brought with me. Because of Hoffman’s death, the director had to give a few lines away to other characters and instead of doing what the directors of “Fast 7” did in the wake of Paul Walker’s death, by using CGI digital enhancements on his brother as stand-ins, the Hunger Games director decided to use footage of Hoffman that they haven’t used for the films yet, which I personally believe pays a little tribute to him. Knowing a digital replica did not taint his performance in one of his last films makes me feel as if he had been there the entire time.

Due to the fact that I have already spoiled most of the movie, I refuse to spoil it any further with the death of other characters, but just know some parts may make people confused if they haven’t read the book. I will spoil the answer to the lingering question on every Hunger Games movie fanatics’ mind, “Who will Katniss end up with?” Katniss ends up with the sweet baker boy, Peeta, who has fully recovered from trying to murder Katniss. The film concluded with Katniss singing the song she sang to Rue when Rue was on her deathbed.

If you’re a big fan of the Hunger Games movies and if you’re dying to know how they end the series, go watch “Mockingjay Part 2.” You will not be disappointed, and it just might meet your expectations like it did mine.