A solid lead-up to the finale.
It's an elaborate game of hurry-up-and-wait. And it's the most shameless example yet of splitting the final book in a hugely popular series into two film adaptations.
Might it have been better if they'd squeezed the whole book into one movie? Probably. Nonetheless, Mockingjay Part 1 is a fine entertainment, shot through with moments of surprising emotional impact.
Matt Zoller Seitz
Jennifer Lawrence's charisma and the the sly excellence of her supporting cast keep "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1" aloft.
Mockingjay has more exposition than a TED Talk, more rubble than a decade of The Flintstones, and absolutely no nonmonetary reason to be Part 1 of anything. It isn't storytelling. It's a filibuster.
As an actress, Lawrence has grown beyond this sort of thing, and the entire enterprise, directed by Francis Lawrence, feels like a massive placeholder for the grand finale.
The effect of so many Oscar-calibre actors speaking the generic dialogue is like watching pro ballplayers play T-ball.
"Mockingjay - Part 1," however well done, 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.