Following in the franchise footsteps of the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" movies, the final installment of
Moviegoers will have to wait until next week to judge for themselves whether director
Variety's Justin Chang says that for fans of the books, "the only real source of suspense here lies in the crucial question of where exactly Collins' story has been cleaved in two. Rest assured, the decision has been made with near-Solomonic wisdom, allowing for just enough incident to sustain this relatively trim two-hour setup until its quasi-cliffhanger of an ending." On the other hand, "Audiences coming to this film with no prior knowledge of the material … may feel their patience squeezed and their appetite for action a bit neglected."
As for the cast, Chang says Jennifer Lawrence "feels like more of a natural than ever,"
The Wrap's Alonso Duralde writes, "Suffice it to say that while 'Mockingjay — Part 1' might not be as consistently thrilling as
Total Film's Kevin Harley says, "Even with the odds against him, returning director Francis Lawrence joins sturdy-handed writers Peter Craig (
Harley continues, "'Part 1' holds up, mostly, with Jennifer Lawrence doing some proper heavy lifting." The actress "tugs us in to Katniss' fraught humanity" and delivers "a reluctant hero we can engage with, not a superhero: qualities rare enough in some A fiction, let alone YA fiction."
Screen Daily's Mark Adams also gives a positive review, writing, "While this Part 1 is light on old-fashioned adventure it does offer up a tough — and at times moving — transition for its lead character." Jennifer Lawrence "has really grown into the [role] of Katniss … She is the charismatic presence that holds this rather flailing film together."
Adams adds, "It may disappoint young fans who relished the sheer fantasy verve that drove the first parts, but as a thoughtful and at times moving preamble to a tough climax,
Other critics, however, are complaining that the two-part approach to the "Hunger Games" finale feels like a cheap cash-in.
Take the Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, who writes, "Like an overgrown and bloated trailer for a film yet to come, Francis Lawrence's The 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' spreads perhaps 45 minutes of dramatic material across two far-too-leisurely hours."
McCarthy continues, "It isn't that it's disagreeable to be reunited with the resourceful, resilient and attractive characters in this series … Unfortunately, 'Mockingjay — Part 1' has all the personality of an industrial film. There's not a drop of insolence, insubordination or insurrection running through its veins; it feels like a manufactured product through and through, ironic and sad given its revolutionary theme."
The Guardian's Henry Barnes similarly calls "Mockingjay — Part 1" a "multimillion dollar stopgap." He writes, "Rebel Katniss is somehow less fun than the woman