Like the Twilight Saga, which remains an inevitable, but unfortunate comparison to The Hunger Games trilogy, these books were written for what is known as the ‘young adults’ (YA) category. Both made millions for their authors, and then proceeded to make hundreds of millions for the producers who bought the film rights. This is also why the final books in each of the series’ were broken into two films each, purely to maximise revenue.
Fortunately, because of the complexity of Suzanne Collins’ original vision, Mockingjay Part 2 does stand alone as the final film in a harrowing conclusion to a riveting story about youth, human nature, war, survival, and, of course, love.
Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence in the role that made her famous) is reeling from the return of her friend, partner, and lover, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) who had been captured by the evil Capital after the dramatic end of the last Hunger Games. All of the districts that were once ruled with an iron hand by the Capital are now in revolt against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) a cruel, psychologically astute dictator who knows how to hit where it hurts.
Over the course of the Hunger Games, an annual event where the youth of the 12 Districts are pitted against one another in an arena and broadcast live all over Panem (a dystopian version of North America), Everdeen, with her stoic nature, moral courage, and unexpected beauty, becomes the inadvertent face of the revolution. Dubbed The Mockingjay by the rebels, who use her image to incite rebellion, Katniss has now become enemy number one for President Snow, who kidnaps and tortures Peeta, altering his perception of reality making him hate Katniss, in a heinous attempt to break the Mockingjay’s spirit.
As Katniss struggles with the brutality of war without Peeta by her side, she becomes alienated from Gale (Liam Hemsworth), her childhood friend and competitor for her affections, while he becomes ever more ruthless regarding the rules of the game when it comes to winning the battle. It is rare, in Hollywood, to see such an exceptional heroine who is anchored by her own humanity, but is neither perfect nor invincible. Katniss’s surprising choices (not every women would have ultimately chosen shy, brave, kind Peeta, over the fiery, handsome, headstrong Gale), her sound instincts, and her commitment to justice, help Mockingjay Part 2 succeed as a character study of a compelling figure who owes her complexity to Suzanne Collins, the writer of the original source material. The world of YA literature is ultimately a better place with heroines like Everdeen versus the Bella Swans of melodramas such as Twilight.