Mild spoilers for "Mockingjay -- Part 2" past this point.
It's hard to believe, but after four years, two sets of deadly games, and more arrows fired by Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) than one could possibly even count, "The Hunger Games" is coming to an end. MTV News had a chance to screen "Mockingjay - Part 2" ahead of the film's release in Berlin, Germany, and now that the tears have dried and Team Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is dead and buried, we can finally reveal what we thought of the epic final film.
Its relationship to violence is heartbreaking, but refreshing.Lionsgate
One thing that's always been great about "The Hunger Games" series is that it doesn't act like acts of extreme violence and warfare just happen, so that everybody can move on and start kissing the nearest Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). From the film's opening scene -- which finds Katniss recovering from the horrific assault by a brainwashed Peeta back in "Part 1" -- to its externally serene conclusion, viewers truly feel every single horrific thing that is happening to Katniss.
A movie that depicts the deaths of children and the loss of innocence -- especially when said movie is marketed to teens -- has a responsibility to let its audience know how god-awful war is for literally millions of people, and "Mockingjay" truly delivers. All of the Capitol-storming and Snow-defeating is still thrilling, but you never forget that you're watching a war movie.
... Which is mostly thanks to a great performance from Jennifer Lawrence.Lionsgate
Jennifer Lawrence has done a phenomenal job balancing Katniss' strength with her severe PTSD throughout all four movies, and she's never been better than she is in "Mockingjay." Watching her finally embrace the Mockingjay moniker and all that it stands for is truly awesome, and her scenes with Hutcherson are -- pun intended -- on fire.
The assault on the Capitol is thrilling.Lionsgate
As readers of Suzanne Collins' book series already know, the highlight of "Mockingjay" is Katniss and co's thrilling -- and incredibly violent -- assault on the Capitol. Those who missed the "creative" deaths from the first two movies in "Part 1" will be pleased to see that the Gamemakers are back and deadlier than ever as they fight back against the Mockingjay and her rebels, and fans of solid dramatic material should be happy to know that the scenes of Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and the rest of the squad spending sleepless nights on the Capitol streets together, trying their best to contemplate the impossible nature of their situation, are some of the best and most emotionally gratifying of the entire series.
It settles "Team Peeta v. Team Gale" once and for all.Lionsgate
No offense to Liam Hemsworth, who has made Gale more of a well-rounded character and less of a tall, handsome meathead with each consecutive movie, but Katniss' hunting buddy never stood a chance. "Mockingjay - Part 1" suffered a bit from a lack of good Katniss and Peeta scenes, since, let's face it, even the Presidents Coin and Snow know that Katniss is at her most likable when she's being great to Peeta.
So it's a good thing that "Mockingjay - Part 2" really leans in to the films' most important relationship. The "real, or not real?" moments of Peeta recovering from his PTSD are incredibly moving, and the number one reason why you should probably bring tissues when you see this movie.
The Katniss v. Snow final showdown is one for the ages.Lionsgate
The final scene between Katniss, Snow (Donald Sutherland), and Coin (Julianne Moore) is far more entertaining, gratifying, and enormous in scale than it is in the book, which is pretty necessary given the abrupt ending of Katniss' assault on the Capitol. Moore's Coin is a different, far more insidious brand of evil than Snow, and it's a real pleasure watching Katniss see straight through her poised and polished facade.
Buttercup gets his moment in the sun.Lionsgate
These movies have always truly been the story of Buttercup, so it's great that District 13's most disgruntled feline gets his moment in the sun. And no, we are not joking. There is a cathartic and emotionally gratifying Buttercup scene, and both Lawrence and the talented cat-actor (cactor?) truly sell it. Meow.