The follow up to last years hugely successful Hunger Games. It picks up after the last left off (And I’m going to assume that you’ve seen the first at this point) with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) having survived the games, but having humiliated the Capitol. It sees them having to go on a victory tour, however President Snow (Donald Sutherland) wants Katniss removed as she provides a symbol for those disillusioned in the outer districts and could spark a rebellion. This leads Snow announcing a special Hunger Games incorporating past winners from each district, meaning Katniss is forced back into the games.
Now I’m going to talk purely about the film, and not in relation to the books. And this latest instalment is brilliant. As dramatic, moving and exciting as the first, potentially even more. The first part of the film that builds up to the Hunger Games is fantastic and allows Lawrence to really show what an amazing actress she is. She is of course brilliantly supported by the rest of the cast. Hutchinson and Hemsworth as Katniss’ love interests are both very good. Woody Harrelson again steals almost every scene that he’s in as Katniss and Peeta’s alcoholic trainer, Haymitch. Elizabeth Banks (Effie, District 12’s chaperone), Lenny Kravitz (Cinna, Katniss’ stylist), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch, the new gamesmaker), Stanley Tucci (Caesar, the presenter of the games) and Sam Claflin (Finnick, a competitor from District 4) all put in very accomplished supporting performances that help make the film a success.
The action in the games and the look of the games is really taken up a step from the first film, and you can clearly see that there is increased ambition from the makers of the film, of course they are also allowed to be more adventurous due to the far more complex nature of the games in this story. But the real strength of Catching Fire is the sequences of the fringes of the society falling apart, particularly when the victory tours takes Katniss and Peeta to District 11.
Overall Catching Fire is a step up on the first film, both in terms of action and the emotion of it. The heart of the film is Jennifer Lawrence who delivers an incredible central performance which will only succeed in growing her already huge reputation.