"The Hunger Games" sequel, "Catching Fire," is as gripping as predecessor.
Spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen the first film.
The movie once again centers around Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a girl who is more worried about survival than the love triangle she has come to be a part of. Not only does the movie focus on her and the people she loves surviving in this futuristic world but on her government's ability through media and fear to try and control its citizens.
This movie picks up a little after the first one leaves off with Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) settling into their lives as victors of the terrifying Hunger Games which pit a boy and a girl from each of the 12 districts into a fight to the death where only one person is supposed to be named the victor. Katniss once again finds herself acting, not only as a naïve girl in love with fellow victor, Peeta, but also as a pawn in her government's continuing pursuit to oppress the people of Panem as both she and Peeta go on a victory tour of the 12 districts.
Haymitch (Woody Harelson), a drunk and previous victor and mentor for District 12, and Effie (Elizabeth Banks), the eccentric Capitol escort, make appearances again. It seems they have both gained a fondness for Katniss and Peeta. Effie is noticeably more empathetic with the events that take place in this film than in the previous one.
President Snow is furious with Katniss for not playing by the Capitol's rules at the end of the last Hunger Games and encouraging rebellion in some of the districts. Snow sets out to defeat her and other previous victors who could use their influence as threats to the Capitol and prevent the people from starting a full on uprising.
The 75th Hunger Games is then held with competitors chosen out of the pool of victors. Although how each one won their game isn't fully explained, each victor is shown to have a unique skill set that assumably enabled them to survive. Despite being a series that focuses on a government created game where the competitors kill each other, the movie wasn't extremely gory although it did have some scenes that were more violent than others. Most of the fighting in the arena though is not just between victors but also with the new arena.
Overall, it was suspenseful, funny and even sad at moments. The only negative thing for me is that the movie does end on a cliffhanger which is aggravating but The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1's release date is set for November 21 of next year, so at least that's something to look forward to.