The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2
Yes, you pretty much need to be a fan to complete the mini-series, because they don't even bother with giving you a recap. You're just sort of dropped in the middle of the story like you already know what has gone before.
What has gone on before is a lot of moving parts. Dystopian future. Oppressive regime. Grass roots rebellion. Unlikely heroine, a young woman, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) with a bow and arrow, an attitude, and a love triangle.
Katniss begins this fourth segment (attained by dividing into two parts the last of the 3-book series) wounded from her violent encounter with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), whom she used to love, but while captured by the enemy they re-programmed his mind, so that now he thinks Katniss is the real enemy. Meanwhile, the rebellion is actually gaining momentum. They have a strong leader, President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), who also enjoys wise advisors, like Plutarch (it still seems strange to see Philip Seymour Hoffman on screen in a newly-released film---he died 22 months ago). They are planning a final assault on the capitol, and they want for Katniss and her squad to follow behind the advance troops, as the face of the revolution, she's too important to actually risk in the battle.
But of course nothing goes according to plan. The evil dictator, President Snow (Donald Sutherland at his smarmy best) has planted lots of traps for the invaders, and most of them are very effective. Katniss and her squad find themselves driven underground, in the sewers, trying to make it to the capitol because she, Katniss, wants to personally fire the arrow that would pierce the evil politician's heart. (Only later does she discover that all successful politicans are alike: smart, charming, egotistic, deceitful, and manipulative.)
As the rebellion has progressed, many things have changed, and the survivors have, as well. Katniss' first love, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) has so taken to the soldiering that he has become one. Katniss, for her part, was always a reluctant warrior, and couldn't wait to get home and just tromp around the woods again, living a simple life. Peeta seems too broken to be a part of that idyllic dream any more, and Gale has become too brutal and hard. As in any war, the losses just keep piling up, and the survivors dedicate their efforts to the memories of those they have lost. The trouble is, that's now true of both sides, and the endearingly naive Katniss continues to believe that all her countrymen should be on the same page here---just get rid of the bad leaders, and everyone can live in harmony again. Would that it were so simple.
The concluding scenes contain surprises, but at the end, Katniss gets her wish---sort of. Whenever a civil war is fought, Happily Ever After isn't going to be the same for everyone. But the whole “Hunger Games” series hinges on the star power of Jennifer Lawrence, and she doesn't disappoint. She is a true screen presence. Though there's a lot of darkness and violence, the young adolescent fans will still find in her a role model of resiliency; a humble heroine who does it her way, and overcomes a lot of obstacles, including the most menacing: the expectations of those around her.