This is a level 2 guide, suitable for moderately experienced groups. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is rated 12A for moderate violence, threat.
Warning: Contains plot spoilers
The Scoop – A sometimes meandering but ultimately satisfying send-off for Katniss Everdeen and a game-changing blockbuster series.
After the events of Mockingjay – Part 1, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is sick of being a pawn in somebody else’s plan. Both her mortal enemy President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and her supposed ally President Coin (Julianne Moore) are looking to use her for their own ends. But Katniss has other ideas.
As an alliance of rebels gets ready to storm the Capitol and overthrow Snow’s oppressive government, she hatches a plan to face him on her own terms. But with her old friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) growing increasingly warlike and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) struggling to get his sanity back, Katniss can trust nobody but herself.
I wasn’t especially taken with the Hunger Games books – they did give me nightmares, though that isn’t saying much – but I’ve loved the films from the beginning. There’s something about the combination of the casting and the stunning production design that really brings this series to life for me. Panem feels real, in a way that blockbuster Dystopias rarely do. (I hate Equilibrium. So sue me.)
Should the final book have been split into two installments? This is seemingly the way things are done now, and it seems pointless to harp on about it. For my money, the main issue with Mockingjay – Part 2 isn’t that it tries to stretch out too little story over too much screen time; I’m very happy to just spend time in this world with these characters. But I did feel that the film’s first two acts threaten to drown emotion with run-of-the-mill action scenes. Thankfully the final stretch returns the focus to the characters and restores the uneasy sense of moral ambiguity which sets this series apart.
Our lives were never ours, they belong to Snow and our deaths do too. – Peeta
- What was your first reaction to Mockingjay – Part 2? Where would you rank it in comparison to the other Hunger Games films? If you’ve read the books, was it a satisfying adaptation – and if not, did the story end in the way you expected?
- What do you think of the recent trend for splitting book adaptations into multiple parts? We’ve seen this with the Harry Potter series, Twilight, the Hobbit films and others: are there any cases where this choice is creatively justified? What effect does it have on the storytelling?
- Did you find Mockingjay – Part 2 emotional to watch, and why or why not? What difference does it make that Katniss is an emotionally scarred and often numb protagonist by this stage?
- What did you make of the conclusion to the ‘love triangle’ between Katniss, Gale and Peeta? How significant was this aspect of the series for you?
- How did you react to Gale and Katniss’s contrasting points of view about the morality of violence? Is there any truth to Gale’s claim that killing during wartime ‘isn’t personal’? Can military action which puts civilians in danger ever be justified?
‘Killing is always personal.’ – Katniss
- What does Mockingjay – Part 2 have to say about the nature of power, and of political revolution? Were you surprised by the developments at the end regarding President Coin? Do Katniss’s actions provide an answer to breaking the cycle of corruption – and were any alternative choices open to her?
- The first Hunger Games book was published in 2008. How might recent world events change the way we see these stories, or give them new significance? Can Panem teach us any valuable lessons for our own world?
- What is the significance of ‘spectacle’ in Mockingjay – Part 2? How does Katniss decide what’s right and what’s real? How might a media-saturated world cause us to question what’s real in our own lives and relationships?
‘You love me. Real or not real?’ – Peeta
- In the final scene, Katniss says that she finds peace by ‘making a list of all the good things I’ve ever seen a person do’. Why do you think she does this? Would you find this an effective way of overcoming grief or trauma, and why, or why not?
For more Film Blog thoughts and questions around this series, read The Hunger Games and Generation K