The Girl On Fire is back in the second installment of the Hunger Games Trilogy, and she’s ready to start a revolution. The movie starts with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in her hometown of District 12, part of the nation Panem. After winning the Hunger Games, she and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are expected to live a life of relative safety. However, when it’s announced that the tributes for the 75th Hunger Games will be picked from past winners of the Games, Katniss and Peeta are forced back into the arena.
The first half of the movie is slow paced but keeps the audience emotionally involved with Katniss’s interactions with Peeta, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), and her sister Prim (Willow Shields). While you see deeper into the relationship between Katniss and Prim, I was taken out of the story because there wasn’t much chemistry between the two. However, Lawrence blew me away; Katniss is initially presented as a victim of PTSD and is haunted by the previous Hunger Games. In spite of that, she finds the strength to protect her family rather than take flight and run from Panem altogether. She shows the empathy and determinism that allow her to “remember who the real enemy is” and fight not only for her life, but also for the citizens of Panem.
While the plot is very similar to the first installment in the trilogy, it is refreshed with a new arena, new tributes, and a new Gamemaker (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman). Some old favorites return as well, such as Effie (Elizabeth Banks), mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), and fashion designer Cinna (Lenny Kravitz). And what would a dystopian society be without a manipulative leader? President Snow (Donald Sutherland) returns and makes a convincing tyrant. I was impressed by the elements of foreshadowing in the first half of the movie as well as the attention to detail throughout its entirety.
As the subtle hints of rebellion from the first movie turn into a full-on revolution, the Girl on Fire becomes a symbol of hope for the citizens of Panem. While not a perfect movie, Catching Fire ends on a tense cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more.