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I saw Hunger Games 2 so you don't have to

That's what the movie is like for all 2 hours and 26 minutes of weirdness. It's Nicholas Cage all the time. Spoiler alerts if you care about the plot of a movie that is, unless you younger than 18, not really made for you.

Reel 1:
Katniss has PTSD, but she is able to go on these fence-jumping hunting and trapping adventures with Gale except that her PTSD makes her unable to shoot turkeys. It is sad. But then it's time to get back to where her family and Peeta and Haymitch live in their victory housing development. They apparently live in relative luxury because they're all rich but it doesn't look like they lead very rich lives and also how would they even spend wealth they live in District 12 it sucks there and also it's been 11 months since the end of the last film?

Anyway. Kat and Peeta are about to go on tour to start advertising for the next Hunger Games. Or they're going on a celebration tour, even though it's been almost a year since they won the Games. It's both I guess? Kat and Peeta have to act like they are IN LUV because that's why they both won last year, and the Emperor-President shows up to remind Kat that she has a role to play, and, if she doesn't play that role, he will destroy everything she loves and that's called Chekov's gun.

Kat and Peeta, after an awkward satellite interview with robot cameramen, go on an epic supertrain ride which reveals that the districts are falling into resistance against the dystopian authoritarian government. Why is there resistance against the dystopian authoritarian government? Because of the first movie, duh! Apparently Kat and Peeta are so awesome that they are making the people of tomorrow finally resist their dystopian authoritarian government. Even though the Hunger Games themselves are a yearly reminder that 74 years ago the authoritarian government crushed the last revolution into the ground by killing millions of people and could easily do so again and that sound you hear subconsciously is the sound of Chekov's gun being loaded.

I don't understand how two teenagers "standing up to the system" suddenly inspires people to openly defy a government that is willing to beat them/shoot them in public. Particularly since the people have no weapons, seemingly. Like it's just angry crowds pushing up against riot police over and over again. That... what does that accomplish? Panem is supposed to be an emulation of the Roman Empire, um, except that this is a Rome with nuclear weapons wherein no one else has any weapons. This is 1984 style dystopia wherein your only way of actually resisting the government is to mentally resist it ... until it finds out about you and takes you to Room 101.

I guess we're not supposed to find out about this resistance because the movie is about Kat and Peeta, and they're not omniscient narrators. So. I'll shut up about that. But I will mention that Kat proposes fake marriage to Peeta, and Peeta is totally cool with that. So, at least Peeta is smart.


Reel 2:
The train tour over, Kat and Peeta have some time (weeks?) to hang out in District 12 before they have to go fight in the 75th Hunger Games. During this time that they are hanging out, Gale gets flogged in public. It is in the contract of every Hemsworth actor that they must be shirtless in a film.

Every 25th Hunger Game the Capital gets to switch things up a bit, this year the new rule is that the Games will be a contest between previous winners, because the President still wants to kill Katniss. District 12 only has two males and one female to choose between, so Kat is going to go into the Games, and either Peeta or Haymitch is going to go in. Hmm which will it be, Peeta or Haymitch... Oh Peeta volunteers thank goodness that allows Peeta and Kat to fight in the Games together again and continue trying to act like an engaged couple who might have to murder one another in order to survive.

Reel 2 takes place in Capital City and that's where the wardrobe department for the movie blew their wad, so, I'll admit it, the decadence of Capital City is amazing. Astounding. Fantastic. ...so what. The first film already showed off this decadence, we as an audience get it, the 1% live on the backs of everyone else. Okay Marxism-Made-Unsubtle we get it.

There's training, there's alliance building, Kat and Peeta make friends among the other contestants, including of course the Oldest Woman in the Movie who won the Hunger Games decades ago and has somehow survived since then. There are "career" Hunger Game contestants? I don't know what that means because everyone earns an income for life based on surviving the games. Oh it means they're jerks, so Kat and Peeta won't ally with them. Gotcha.

Oh also Philip Seymour Hoffman shows up as Plutarch Heavensbee which is not the weirdest name ever but close to it. He is designing the games this year and so he is going to try to kill Katniss *evil laugh* Wait except that he talks about moves and counter-moves and you get the suspicion that maybe he's thinking something else and wait why is he labeled Chekov's other gun.

The night before the Games are the interviews, which are the best part of the movie because Stanley Tucci's character is the only one allowed to actually have fun with this hilarious script. Somehow of the 24 contestants only a few of them are damaged in the sense of having the guilt of their previous actions really obviously hanging down on them. I can't tell if this is supposed to be saying something about the Games or the kind of people who survive the Games or foreshadowing for Peeta and Kat. Also Kat shows up in the world's most gorgeous wedding dress which Cinna uses his special effects budget to make into a mockingjay Furry outfit which, um, you know, pisses off the President. Because that's a good idea wait did you hear a gun loading

Peeta and Kat and their fake marriage and pregnancy aren't enough of a surprise to cancel the Games, not surprising the audience. So the Games are go and Kat has one last tender moment with Cinna before he gets beaten to a pulp in front of her eyes as soon as the tube door seals and she goes to face the Games. Just to remind someone (Kat? the audience?) that this world is bleak and bitter, Lenny Kravitz gets beat down by chekov's third gun. :-(

Reel 3:
#HungerGames75 y'all. This time it's on a tropical island which has killer monkeys and fog and birds and tsunamis. I probably wasn't supposed to laugh about the killer monkeys but I was laughing about the killer monkeys. I was reminded that this movie is made for a younger audience because the film telegraphs upcoming events a lot: when the killer fog shows up, the soundtrack and ambient noises all drop to nothing in order to warn the audience that shit's about to go down. Kat literally says "The fog is poison!" and I can't remember if I actually LOLd or just really wanted to.

Peeta and Katniss ally with the Oldest Woman in the Movie and Finnick, who is apparently friends with Haymitch. They also ally with Jena Malone because Jena Malone is awesome shut up she was in Contact so I don't care what you say about her.


The killer monkeys (which are almost tail-less but not. This really confused me: why bio-engineer killer baboon-ish monkeys [note: baboons live in savannah, and are adapted for terrestrial living] for a tropical island [note: not a good habitat for baboons] without giving them some bio-engineered prehensile tails?) get a jump scare scene. During the three minutes or so wherein they are terrorizing Kat and Peeta's group of people, one of them shows up from the left side of the screen and emits a monkey noise and the audience I was seeing this with jumped. How the what how? Anyway. Anyway.

Kat and Peeta survive the Hunger Games by using fake lightning to blow up the dome that surrounds the island that the Games are being held in. As in Katniss shoots an arrow up into the dome, with electricity running along it, that blows up the dome. The President watches this happen and says "that can't happen" and ... ... as far as we can tell that's all the most powerful man in Panem does in response to this happening, but wait for it...

Kat is taken away by an unmanned aerial vehicle to be put on a different plane, wherein she finds out that Finnick and Haymitch and Plutarch (!!!!!!!!) were in cahoots!!! Chekov's other gun saves Kat what a twist also they are the Revolution and they are going to go to District 13 and that should work out great because ???. But because Kat is being crazy Haymitch doses her with some tranqs and she passes out. So Kat wakes up again somewhere else and is hanging out with Gale, who delivers the exposition to let us know that

1) Chekov's gun fired in this movie, it blew up all of District 12
2) Except for the characters we care about (whew).
3) Peeta is being held by the Feds so Katniss we gotta go get him

Katniss rolls onto her back and looks up at the camera with a look of determination and the movie ends on that shot?!?!?! They should have ended it with

Katniss Everdeen will return in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Because honestly that's the only thing this movie franchise has going for it. I know it's an adaptation of a young adult series but it jumps over plot points that might help the coherency of the plot. For example, to steal from Wikipedia,

Shortly after returning to District 12, Katniss encounters two runaways from District 8. They explain their theory that contrary to what the other districts have been led to believe, District 13 was not wiped out by the Capitol, and that many of its residents survive in underground shelters.

That would have been a useful thing to have in the movie, because I have no idea why Finnick and Haymitch and Plutarch want to go to District 13 at the end of the movie. I've been told (in this movie and the movie before it) that District 13 is nuclear wasteland. If I had been told that there were underground Vaults wherein survivors of District 13 lived, then F+H+P are at least going to go talk to people rather than go hang out in a nuclear wasteland.

You don't need to watch this in a theatre. You don't. Unless you feel like supporting Young Adult-focused genre movies is an important thing to do.

Also, killer monkeys.

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