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Endings are tough to crack, especially in the wake of a popular franchise. Thankfully, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 is a successful, albeit occasionally uneven, conclusion to the popular series. While it’s simplistic thematically, there’s a lot of entertainment value and the story concludes in a rewarding fashion.

Shortly after the events of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1Part 2 picks up with the continued adventures of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who’s struggling from the betrayal of her friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). With an impending attack on the capital and President Snow (Donald Sutherland), Katniss finds herself in a web of intrigue, as she must lead troops both as a revolutionary leader and a symbol. But as the sides become less clear, and the war becomes all the more treacherous, Katniss must survive in a cruel world.

Francis Lawrence has easily mastered the tone of this franchise, and Part 2 is more successful in its story than the previous installments. Though the film deals with many big issues, namely the power of propaganda and the seductiveness of evil, it wisely blends the action with the thematic intensity. While there are still struggles to make the themes subtle, the film improves in pacing, giving a non-stop action thriller with enough character building moments to suffice.

It’s a very large ensemble, and while some characters are handled better than others, the film works mostly in due to the cast. Jennifer Lawrence has become inseparable with the franchise, and gives perhaps her best performance yet as the character. While actors like Josh Hutcherson, Sam Clafin,and Liam Hemsworth are serviceable, and given more to do than in previous installments, the strongest supporting players are those of Woody Harrelson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman; Harrelson is in a classic character role that doesn’t sacrifice the drama or humor that he’s aware of, and Hoffman’s is a whimsical, intelligent role that serves as further reminder of what a loss his passing is to the film industry.

Perhaps the strongest film in the series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 is a fulfilling conclusion to the series, serving as a showcase of the series and a thematic conclusion. As young adult franchises go, the series is more intelligent than average, and though sometimes unsuccessful, there’s ambition that is rarely seen, and passion that pays off. Grade: B