The "extremely satisfying payoff" in The Hunger Games isn't there because it's not supposed to be, since it's only the first book in the trilogy and sets up the tensions of the rest of the story.
Problem is: the movie structured in a way that doesn't tell you anything
about a trilogy.
So, if you don't know about that fact going in (like me), the ending just infuriates you to no end. ("Huh? That's it? This barbaric game is just going to continue? What the hell was the point then?")
The first part of the trilogy should feel
like a first part, not a one shot.
How would the movie possibly tell you by its structure that they are sequels, other than the fact that the ending doesn't feel like an ending at all and that it's obviously setting up sequels? I knew the movie was based on a book but I didn't know if there was one book or more when I went to see the movie, but at the end of the movie I was sure that it was the latter and that there must be sequels.
And what kind of ending you expect to see? Everyone suddenly deciding to overthrow Snow and doing it over the space of 5 minutes without any blood being shed? Snow suddenly becoming nice after having a Christmas Carol-like epiphany and abolishing the Hunger Games?