Winning the 74th Hunger Games seemed like the best possible outcome for Katniss (Lawrence) and Peeta (Hutcherson) but becoming a puppet of the Capitol wasn’t what they expected. When they go on a tour of the Districts to pay tribute to their fallen combatants they unintentionally spark a revolution that serves to increase and focus the hardship beset upon their people. There’s also the fact that they are continuing to play up their romance for the unending reality tv they’ve become a part of and that is taking its toll on them and their loved ones. Knowing that they control every single victor to ever win the Games the Capitol take it upon themselves to hold an unexpected Hunger Games pitting previous victors against each other. The end game? Destroy Katniss and all she stands for thus crushing the revolution before it even gets started.”
Having not read the books I go into these movies without preconceived expectations but it is a little disappointing how much this movie follows the format of the first. It improves on the first movie in its delivery and is lightened by not having to establish the characters. We even get a nice talk through the first movie from President Snow (Sutherland) to remind us exactly what happened the last time. It is well paced and it builds towards the action packed Games, in a similar way to the first movie, painting a picture of how they’re going to take Katniss down a peg or two. They probably spend a little bit too long on this aspect and given the 146 minute running time having only 46 minutes of action is a bit disappointing, because the action is really good when it does kick in. The reality television aspect is quite interesting in its own right but it’s a very thin strand in the overall scheme of things.
The performances are good across the board with Sutherland bringing a very threatening President Snow to life again, he’s downright horrible. The arrival of Seymour Hoffman adds weight to the cast, although he is underused, he is there for the most part to set up the final chapter. Lawrence is good as the ever angry Katniss, but as a character she is a bit one dimensional and in honesty it seems more like she’s coming apart at the seams than about to lead a revolution. Where it really drops the ball though, is in the final scenes.
Finishing the movie a few scenes earlier would have worked quite well but the way it ends just doesn’t work. The whole movie is a set up for the final chapter which is fair enough and on the whole it works quite well (insert preparation H joke here) but it didn’t leave me wanting more and that’s what it’s there to do. Entertaining yet a little underwhelming, if you’re a fan there is nothing I can say that will stop you going to see it.