Revenge against the Capital in the 76th annual Hunger Games is best served with a steaming Katniss
Everdeen, a side order of district army troops and a disillusioned Peeta Mellark.   
    
The Mockingjay takes aim once more in Francis Lawrence’s epic 2015 franchise finale “The Hunger
Games Mockingjay Part 2.”      

I’m the Ranting Usher.  Let me march you to your seat.
    
Jennifer Lawrence, to quote Haymitch, “does not disappoint. “  

Does she ever?  

Lawrence delivers an authentic performance as Katniss Everdeen, the army’s leader, who is driven by an
insatiable desire to assassinate President Snow while all she holds dear hangs in a precarious balance.  
She is resilient, compassionate and determined.  “Nothing good is safe while Snow is alive.”

Soft spoken and somber, Lawrence compliments the tone, which grows more serious with each passing
moment.  Yet even her acting and some sparse instances of comic relief cannot entirely compensate for
an assortment of scenes that move at a sluggish pace.

Although thrilling in their own right, action scenes like the ambush in the underground tunnels are brief
and sporadic.  They then revert back to a crawl.  Director Francis Lawrence clearly wanted to capture
every moment of emotional tension that he could by slowing the camera down.  

A film constantly building to a conclusion as climactic and extraordinary as the fall of the Capital is going
to be slow in some places, but is it necessary for those moments to be stretched out as far as they can
go?

That each sequel in the series picks up where its predecessor left off is a testament to the saga’s
credibility and honesty.  Here, we see Peeta suffering the after-effects of a venomous substance
administered to him by President Snow, which ultimately solidifies Katniss’s motivations to strike back.    
Had the movie begun anyplace else, it would have left an ambiguous gap for audiences to have to fill in
on their own.  That would not have boded well, especially at this stage in the series.

“You’re favorite color is green,” Peeta asks Katniss.  “Real?  Not real?”
“Real,” Katniss says.  “Yours is orange.  Not a bright orange like Effie’s hair but a softer orange.”

These exchanges of dialogue between Katniss and Peeta are not only endearing, but pay homage to one
of the ways in which their characters formed a long-lasting relationship.  References such as those are
an example of sophisticated storytelling and they serve as essential ingredients in any trilogy.

“The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2” takes a bold risk in its ending plot twist (no spoilers here.)  
Although not too difficult to predict, it may satisfy some viewers while leaving others scratching their
heads because they feel they’ve been misled by the trailer and the media.  Just like those unfortunate
souls who marched toward the capital in need of additional food, clothing and medicine were misled by
Snow himself.

How cleverly deceptive the media can be.  Whether it’s the Capital of Panem or a swarm of Hollywood
executives, things are rarely as they seem.

We may not want to say goodbye to Miss Everdeen, but wherever she may be, wherever she may go, may
the odds be ever in her favor.

I’m the Ranting Usher.  Let me tell you about my nightmares and about how you can make yours go away.  

Do you agree with my review?  What did you think about the “Hunger Games” final installment?  Was it
everything you hoped for?  Let me know in the comments section.