Musicians talk about their tricky second album - well in the movie franchise business we can talk about the awkward penultimate film.
The second Lord of the Rings was the weakest, the next Hobbit movie looks to be better than the last and part one of the final Harry Potter film will only be remembered for a dodgy dance in a forest.
While Mockingjay Part 1 is enjoyable enough, it’s only purpose really is to set up what looks to be a cracking finale.
The first two films had the actual Hunger Games and taking them away means the focal point is missing.
Instead we have the emotional and physical consequences of what is a civil war.
In the last episode we saw Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) destroy the games and be plucked away by the rebels, leaving her boyfriend Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and other participants behind.
Mockingjay picks up the story straight after and Katniss is desperate to rescue Peeta from the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) at the Capital.
The rebels live in District 13, thought to have been destroyed, which is ruled by another president - Alma Coin (Julianne Moore).
Coin wants Katniss to become the ‘Mockingjay’, the symbol of the rebellion.
There are some tense moments and some action but this is definitely more of a plot-builder.
Of course, if you’ve seen the previous two films you need to watch this. If you haven’t then it’s unlikely you’ll fully appreciate what’s going on.
Lawrence is consistently good and a worthy lead actor and with Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth chipping in it’s certainly well acted.
Sutherland in particular is great at being a very malevolent dictator, fighting hard to retain his empire.
But Julianne Moore’s character is also interesting, using Katniss as a propaganda weapon.
Overall this is a vital cog in the Hunger Games machine but with the overall thrills ramped down. Still worth watching, though.
Film details: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (12A) 123mins
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol