The typical shoot-em-up climaxes of revenge thrillers can’t hold a candle to the excellent ending here, as the just desserts are served in fabulous fashion with ingredients like hash brownies, red carpets, costumes, Kate Winslet, pools of blood, and towns on fire. The rest of the story is great too (save for a bit of sag in the second act romance) with its darkly comedic small-town-whodunnit vibe and memorable characters (love that the sargeant with a secret is given a meaningful arc).
A perfect continuation of the devastating commentary on war from Part 1: uneasy scenes of sinister battle plans and shady propaganda politics intertwine with suspenseful ones of terrifying, exhausting, fruitless warfare (see Katniss’ response to her brief captor) to lead to a fitting anti-climax; there is no joy in victory, only lingering suspicion and pain and further violence simmering beneath the surface (slightly cheesy final scene aside). A satisfying conclusion to a dark dystopian tale.
Grim, ghastly, great. Could’ve capitalized on the momentum of the simple and effective good rebels vs. bad Capitol set-up of the first two flicks, but instead chose to sit in the darkness underground for a while and meditate on media manipulation and the horrors of war that exist even when you’re fighting evil: a remarkable pre-climax storytelling maneuver that sits better the more you stew on it. Well-shot, scored (Lawrence’s “The Hanging Tree” is truly haunting), and acted, as always.
The first act is superb as rebellion brews and Katniss and Peeta deal with the complex aftermath to the previous Games. I wish it lingered here longer instead of rushing to the next Games though; the plan to taint Katniss’ image was dropped rather quickly, for example. Still, emotional scenes abound in the familiar plot structure of the next two acts (see Katniss and Peta’s powerful presentations to the sponsors; Katniss’ dress reveal), and the bounty of new supporting characters are memorable.
Captivating from the get-go thanks to the intimate, hand-held camerawork, bittersweet landscapes of poverty and natural beauty, and ethereal, haunting soundtrack. As the last two acts dive into the deep end of the disturbing dystopia while keeping these elements it becomes even more so; social commentary on class disparity, reality entertainment, and desensitization to violence intertwine to make numerous powerful scenes and a poignant lingering sense of despair and rebellion amidst victory.
Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough? (IMDb)
Nothing wrong with a big, brainless sci-fi (see its predecessor) but it’s got to have at least some dramatic weight, be decently acted, have a character to care about as well as some good one-liners. This film fails on almost all counts: The exposition and pep talks are beyond cheesy, the performances often bad, the characters too numerous and forgettable (save for Drs. Okun and Isaac’s cute couple) and the one-liners in one ear out the other, save for one: “They like to get the landmarks”.