The opening weekend of Mockingjay Part 2 is in full swing, and the reactions to the film have been very interesting. Fans seem happy with it on the whole. We all have our things that we wish were included or changed, but all in all it seems like the fans are pleased because this is a solid, faithful adaptation of the book. We got to see this story end in a way that is true and respectful to the source material and the important themes we value.
Movie critics have been mixed. Some have really loved it, some liked it, but some are on the way other extreme calling it a major disappointment. The reasons why some critics have panned the movie offer an intriguing look into expectations of blockbuster movies, and the Hunger Games movies themselves. They say it’s too bleak, somber, gray, slow. It also seems like they were expecting some kind of exciting battle at the end, for Katniss to lead the rebels to triumphant glory of a new day in Panem.
As fans of the books, we knew not to expect that, and frankly the fact that there ISN’T a triumphant final battle and Katniss doesn’t go on to some glorious future of power, wealth and fame is what really hits home to us. An ending like that would have been a complete fairy tale and out of step with what these stories are trying to teach. But we understand the surprise that there isn’t one here. The story structure that the negative critics expected is as old as time. It’s one that appeals to people because of its extreme fantasy. You fight the brave fight and win and all is well.
We all know Mockingjay doesn’t portray the struggle in such a simplistic or clean way. Mockingjay Part 2 may be a PG-13 war movie, but it’s a war movie that doesn’t gloss over the ugliness of war. It doesn’t pretend that there’s anything glorious about the violence and destruction of war. That these things are arbitrary, unfair, and cruel. That discerning from “good” and “bad” actions are impossibly difficult. There’s a subtlety and lack of easy answers. AND WE LOVE THAT ABOUT THIS STORY.
The fact this film doesn’t offer a massively fun, popcorn chomping Hunger Games-y time may also be a reason why this film will open domestically as the lowest of the four movies. It’s still expected to rake in $100 million plus this weekend, plus a massive amount overseas, so without doubt this movie will still make everyone involved a nice pile of cash. The pile just won’t be so obscenely big this time. For fans though, whether this movie just makes A LOT of money versus A SHIT TON is moot. It’s about having a film that met OUR expectations, and it looks like we got it.
The desire for panem et circenses persists, but we’re happy that the popularity of the franchise is getting lots of people to see this film. It’s good to see something different from the movies sometimes.
Now go remind the normals to see this movie.