Might as well continue comparing these young adult dystopian movies!
These reviews are for the MOVIES not the books. I haven't read the books so if you're thinking of writing about the books vs the movies in my comments your writing will fall on blind eyes because I don't care.
Only very slight spoilers. Nothing big!
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Glob, I keep misspelling it as "Mockinjay". Just shows what a hick I am.
I think this was one of the better Hunger Games movies, but did it really need to be two parts? Nah. Cut out the padding and you could've had three Hunger Games movies.
This movie felt a lot like a video game. There's a big ol' map with traps and locales to reach and a boss at the middle of it. Once you reach a check point there's a cute little cut scene then you go on to the next level. Is that a good or a bad thing? Ehhhh... both. It's good for when you're watching it in the theater, but the "replay" value isn't there.
The best things about the movie were the two action set pieces: the big ol' gooey tar dump thingie and the going through the sewers part.
The sewers part was my favorite because it reminded me a lot of Alien
when Dallas was climbing through the ship trying to locate the dang thing. It was suspenseful! I guess you can say I'm more a fan of suspense than action, so it's just a personal preference.
That being said, once the monsters are finally revealed in the sewers they're kinda lame: naked white goofy CG monsters that all share the same model. They even kinda looked like Alien in the face a bit. I would have left it as off-screen as possible to keep that suspense and mystery factor going.
Also, Katniss doesn't get very dirty while wading through all the poo and pee in the sewers. More of that ridiculous Hollywood trend of keeping the female characters pristine with perfect skin. Though at the very end she did FINALLY get a little bit of dust on her face. Groundbreaking!
Once again Katniss is a feckless heroine while Peeta is far more likeable (and Gale's a severe one-note as well), but I really do like the whole "media" aspect of the series and how they force Katniss to be their rebellion symbol. That's pretty creative. And I like it that at the very end you get to see things from the bad guys' point of view as she's forced to find her way into the center of the city in disguise.
There're some things that don't make sense to me in this movie, though; like why did Katniss and CO have to go in a separate troop on a more dangerous route than the rest of the rebellion army? Why didn't the rebels just bomb the heck out of the capital building with their helicopter doo-hickeys? Aww, well. Some allowances must be made for excitement I suppose.
So sure, I'll recommend this one if you're a fan of the series. If not, it's okay to wait until DVD or blu-ray.
The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
I don't think this one was as good as the first Maze Runner, but still pretty dang entertaining. This one's also directed by Wes Ball, and even though he's only directed a handful of movies, I think he might be going places. He certainly knows how to shoot with excitement through frantic chase scenes and action pieces. Nice artsy shots here and there as well.
The best thing about the Maze Runner series is how genuinely the teenagers care about each other. They always have each others' backs and they refuse to leave one of their own behind. They're very likable kids (and good actors to boot) who're scared and just want to get somewhere safe- plus they actually act like teenagers unlike the ones in Hunger Games and Divergent.
Also no love triangles. Or romance at all, actually.
The music is also a very nice surprise in these movies by John Paesano. Like Wes Ball, he doesn't have a lot of titles under his name yet, but his future looks bright.
There're also monsters in this film (basically zombies only they actually run full pace after you). These zombies are mostly actors in make-up, which I always approve of far more than CG. But, there are a few CG ones as well for the more far-gone ones. C'est la vie!
Drawbacks? I'd cut out a big chunk of the middle of this one and spend more time on the group in the mountains to expand on those characters.
Also, the girl character actually gets dirty unlike Katniss or.. the one in Divergent... whatsherface? She also gets to wear dumpy clothes just like the boys. Hallelujah!
Once again: I'd recommend (I kinda wish I'd seen the Maze Runner movies in the theater, actually) if it's "your thing", but looking at the IMDB scores, it seems you gotta be the right person to get a kick outta it. So watch the first one first, and if you like that one, go ahead and watch this one as well.