The sequel to last year’s box-office sensation The Hunger Games impressively builds on solid foundations – without ever really catching fire itself.
With two more sequels to follow – the split-in-half final book Mockingjay – as part of a franchise quadrilogy, Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence grows even more impressively into the role of reluctant warrior Katniss Everdeen.
Alongside a strong supporting cast – which boasts Phillip Seymour-Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer – and a more polished production (helmed by the director of I Am Legend), Lawrence’s presence helps elevate this to the next level.
It does take a while to actually reach ‘the games’ part of the film, with the first half being more methodical than exhilarating as Katniss and co-winner Peeta Mallark become targets of the Capitol when their victor’s tour lights the embers of a rebellion.
But the curveball sees Katniss and Peeta literally thrown back into the viper’s nest with former winners– making this the deadliest games yet.
Arguably the actual ‘games’ aren’t as shockingly visceral as the first film, and the movie might not quite pan-out as some may expect.
It is undoubtedly a classier product than the likes of the Twilight Saga – and deserves plaudits as this simmers nicely towards an exciting finale.