The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – This sequel burns brighter and stronger than the original

     One of the most anticipated movies of this season certainly delivered. Smart and sleekly directed by Francis Lawrence, Catching Fire proves to be not only a compelling second installment in the Hunger Games series but possibly one of the best young adult novel adaptations since the Harry Potter series.

     The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second film in The Hunger Games film series. After winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) return home to District 12 but are required to take a victory tour of the country. Their actions during the Games have sparked a revolution against the Capitol. In order to put an end to the rebellion before it fully begins, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games known as the Quarter Quell – a competition that will change Panem forever. 
     As a whole, I will say that this film is much better than the first. It doesn’t just focus on the violence of teenagers killing themselves and surviving for the entertainment of the general public but it delves deeper into the effects that these “games” had on the victors. The emotional and mental trauma showed, especially on Katniss. Dealing with the trauma was escalated when she and Peeta embark on the Victory Tour, seeing the seeds of revolution that were sewn into the other districts, even to the Capitol. What drove this film for me is that the romance between Katniss and Peeta was not at the forefront like other contemporary teenage movies of recent memory but it was intertwined with the very convincingly scary dictatorship of the Capitol.
     Jennifer Lawrence’s devotion and commitment to the character of Katniss really helps power this film along. With an Oscar on her resume for last year’s Silver Linings Playbook, this film helps solidify Jennifer Lawrence as an A-list actress with staying power for coming years. She was magnificent to watch as the heroine, dealing with her survival of the games, the fear of returning to the arena to survive while embracing the role of a love-struck young woman. With wonderful performances from Hutcherson, newcomers Jeffery Wright, Amanda Plummer, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, this film is a wonderful piece of work that will thrill and excite fans of the series. 
     While the movie does run longer than it probably should have, the ending makes up for that and built up the anticipation for the next installment, Mockingjay, Part 1. This film warranted a double viewing for me and I believe that fans of the books and the first film will be more than pleased by this pop-culture escapism film that has captured the hearts of the world. 

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