Following the conclusion of the epic ‘quadrilogy’, let’s look back over the past four years and rank the best Hunger Games movies.
4. The Hunger Games (2012)
The film that started it all back in 2012, The Hunger Games hasn’t remained at the forefront of what the series can do best.
It’s still a great film, but there are many elements to the first movie that just don’t live up to the later films. The story lacks the dark political subtext that makes the sequels so unique and thrilling, the directing is a bit all over the shop with Gary Ross’ annoying shaky cam, and the main focus of the film on the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale just isn’t as interesting as the revolution against the Capitol, earning this the unfortunate tag of a ‘Young Adult’ film.
Despite that, however, the film does adapt Suzanne Collins’ book very well, and has some great performances by Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland and others, as well as a heap of great action throughout that makes this more of an enjoyable watch, instead of a truly enthralling one like the following films.
3. The Hunger Games – Mockingjay: Part 1 (2014)
The third edition in the franchise, Mockingjay – Part 1, was heavily criticised for its extreme slow pacing owing to it being only half of the final book in the trilogy.
And it is definitely true that this film doesn’t have the exhilarating action of Catching Fire before it, whilst the characters don’t develop to the extent that you’d like in a full-book adaptation, this film does have some real merit to it. It builds on the previous film’s political themes and turns this series further and further into what is almost a historical war drama.
It moves away from the whole love triangle emphasis, and begins looking deep into the workings of the revolution against the Capitol, featuring the Rebels’ propaganda movements, Katniss’ reluctance to take on the symbol of the ‘Mockingjay’, and the growing violent tension between the two sides that is pushing this towards total warfare, and that is truly fascinating to watch.
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
When the second film, Catching Fire, was released in 2013, it blew everyone away. It took what was best about the first Hunger Games and ran with it, but it fixed pretty much all of the mistakes of its predecessor to create a hugely exhilarating film.
Francis Lawrence took over the reigns as director, removing the annoying shaky cam that plagued the first movie, and created a swift, majestic film to look at. Also, the performances continued to improve as the characters became more and more developed, with Jennifer Lawrence putting in a hugely emotional and eye-catching performance that maybe she didn’t quite reach to in the first film.
Catching Fire is also notable as one of the best movies in the series because it moved the overall story arc along so much from just ‘The Hunger Games’. We got to see the huge political oppression faced by the people under the dictatorial capitol, and, along with the fun action-packed sequences, it ended up a pretty brutal watch, but that gave you such a strong fervour for more excitement going into Mockingjay.
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)
And then, the series really finished with a bang. The final book may have been split into two movies, and Mockingjay – Part 1 may have lacked some of the high thrills that you wanted, but that’s where the astonishing finale, Mockingjay – Part 2, comes in.
Featuring an absolute explosion of mind-blowing action from start to finish, the film turned this series into what is just an all-out war film. There remains strong political subtext, and come the end of the film, we learn more and more about what really happened within the rebellion against the Capitol, but it’s the exhilarating battles, where the stakes are so high you can’t believe it, that really stand out here.
The directing, the acting, the screenplay; it’s all absolutely fantastic, and it proves a hugely unpredictable climax to the epic series, and one that will definitely satisfy everyone who has been a fan of the series over the last four years.