And so it ends. The series that proved the YA genre could be make money, satisfy fans of the books AND win critical acclaim – a series that also helped propel star Lawrence's career into the stratosphere – draws to a close. And apart from a few quibbles, Mockingjay Part 2 rounds off The Hunger Games saga quite nicely.
When we left Katniss (Lawrence) and the gang at the end of Part 1, the rebellion was fomenting. Now it's in full flight, although this film takes at least half an hour to get to the action proper. First it has to wrap up where the previous film left off – the newly-rescued Peeta (Hutcherson) is still brainwashed and wants to kill Katniss. When that finally gets sorted out, Katniss and her gang – Gale (Hemsworth), Finnick (Claflin), Cressida (Dormer), Peeta, Boggs (Ali) and a few others – head off on a secret mission to infiltrate the Capitol and clear the way for a full-on invasion. But Katniss has her own, secret, plan – to assassinate President Snow (Sutherland) and free Panem once and for all.
The biggest strength of The Hunger Games series has always been Lawrence, and once again this amazing young woman does not disappoint. It's been refreshing to see a film series led by such a strong and heroic female protagonist, and the incredibly talented Lawrence has done so much to humanise Katniss and make the character live, breathe and be believable, flaws and all. We've seen Katniss grow and develop over the course of the four films. She's still an unwilling hero, sure, but seems to have grown to accept and be somewhat comfortable with her role as the face of the rebellion. Here, more-so than in the previoous three films, Katniss is the active protagonist. She leads the small troop to take the fight to the Capitol, however it's revenge on Snow that she seeks – for all that's gone before, of course, but it's the brainwashing of Peeta that was the final straw. Lawrence is such an extraordinary and expressive performer; we don't see her PLAYING the character of Katniss, we see her BEING Katniss. She fully inhabits the person we see on the screen, and gives it her all. It also helps to have such a stellar cast by her side, with Sutherland and Moore once again mesmerising – although, sadly, Tucci, Banks and Harrelson all have less to do this time. And it's sad to see the late Philip Seymour Hoffman popping up as a CGI figure.
The beauty of the Hunger Games saga has been the social commentary woven into the fabric of the story and the action. The series has always been about the gulf between the haves and have-nots, about how power corrupts, how those in power manipulate those who are ruled. It's about politics, and war, and justice, and how eventually the oppressed will fight for freedom, for what they believe is right. And finally, it's about family, and friendship, and love. This final film wraps up the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale, with a conclusion that is sure to satisfy the fans. And it finishes on a hopeful note for the future of Panem. Let's see what the future holds for Lawrence, because it's sure to be a great one.