You'll Leave Mockingjay 'Still Waiting'
It sets up the finale, but that's largely all: critics
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2014 11:45 AM CST

(Newser) – Katniss Everdeen is back and ready to wage war in the first part of what is touted to be an epic Hunger Games finale. But does this flick, with a star-studded cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, stand above the rest? Here's what critics are saying:

  • Tom Long at the Detroit News says the movie's "frustration and indecision, inaction and waiting," makes it "a more difficult and, in some ways, interesting movie than its predecessors." Lawrence is "terrific as always," but Mockingjay Part 1 "can't compete with the first two films, although it sets up what should be its stunning ending well enough."

  • "If Mockingjay Part 1 is quieter and less flashy than its predecessors, that doesn't make it less satisfying," writes Steven Rea at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Lawrence shines as the "Joan of Arc of post-apocalyptic Panem" amid stars like Moore and Hoffman, who "manage to enliven their realpolitik chats with conviction" in their roles as leaders of the revolution, he writes.
  • "The Hunger Games has turned out to be the best of these so-called long-term franchises," Wesley Morris writes at Grantland. "This third movie is cooler" than others, "but equally tense. You feel as if something’s at stake in this world." Still, it has "absolutely no nonmonetary reason to be Part 1 of anything. It isn't storytelling. It's a filibuster." And you may "despise how abruptly it ends."
  • Moira Macdonald at the Seattle Times agrees. "It's a table-setter of a movie in which not much happens." Splitting Suzanne Collins' book into two movies "may have made sense from a business point of view, but dramatically it's a problem. You leave this well-acted, impeccably designed movie as you entered it: still waiting."