This review is filled with spoilers, if you haven’t watched the movie, it’s better if you don’t read this review.
The Hunger Games is back, this time centering around Katniss’ life as a Victor of The Hunger Games. Her victory of the said game has sparked a revolution of the Districts, forcing President Snow to do anything it takes to eliminate the Girl on Fire. Being a sequel to a very good movie, can this movie tops the first one?
It’s really rare to have a sequel that’s better than the first one, specifically the first sequel. Usually the first sequel will be a little let down (Star Trek into Darkness, Kick Ass 2), with only a handful of them being way better than the first one (The Dark Knight, and The Avengers if you count them as sequels to Captain America & Thor). The film retains the smart writing and pacing from the first movie, but the major improvement is that there’s no more shaky cams. The first movie was great but the shaky cams really distract the overall movie.
The main reason why Hunger Games film series is a huge success over critics and audiences alike is because of Jennifer Lawrence’s acting. In this second installment she makes Katniss suffers from PTSD, like Tony Stark did. I don’t remember Katniss having PTSD in the book but Jennifer did a really AWESOME job at portraying a person that suffered from PTSD. If you compare Katniss’ PTSD to Stark’s PTSD, the former’s more believable, which is a shame because Robert Downey, Jr. has more experience than Jennifer did.
As for the other characters’ acting, they are top notch. Peeta is there, being as useless as ever (but still better than Edward and Jacob). Out of all the returning characters, I really wanted to talk about President Snow. In the first movie, I hardly view him as an antagonist but here, man he is a total dick. Donald Sutherland did an amazing job of making Snow a really hateable character because that’s what he is. From my point of view, it’s like President Snow from the first movie was like Gus Fring in Breaking Bad season 2 while Snow in the second movie was like Walter White from season 5!
Also, it’s interesting to note that I’ve grown on Effie, because in the first movie, I hated her simply because she’s from the Capitol. But here, it’s nice to see that she considered Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch as friends and not some guests from a poor District.
Since the second movie introduces lots of new characters, let’s talk about them. I guess the one that stole the spotlight was Sam Caflin’s performance as Finnick Odair. Seriously, Caflin was the perfect choice for the role of Finnick because he truly portrays a charming victor which is exactly what they described in the book. Also the movie shows everything we need to know about Finnick, so that’s a plus. Although they didn’t mention about his trident gift. Mostly because it’s kinda relevant.
Other than Finnick, the new characters that are important are Johanna and Beetee. Johanna is a likable jerk, but I really like Beetee. In the scene where Beetee gets electrified, I nearly shed a tear because I don’t want a guy like him to die (and I forgot that he did survived, because I read the book a year before the movie). We also have Wiress and Mags. The former is really forgettable if you ask me but the latter, you can’t help but to sympathize for her. That being said I do feel her death wasn’t really sad enough.
For the new arena of The Hunger Games, they captured it perfectly and make it extremely believable. When I first read the book and how Katniss describes the arena, I can’t help but to feel that it’s too magical. But in the movie, it truly feels like every danger zones is pure technology.
Also, casual viewers might criticize for the getting late into the actual Games. For me, those people are stupid. The movie and the book isn’t centered on the Games, but rather Katniss’ experience after going through the previous Game. The Game itself was just a plot by Snow to eliminate Katniss at all cost. Call it a plot twist, if you may.
I gotta give credit to the people who wrote the story because they managed to tell a story from a book without feeling rushed. Before I watched the movie I was worried that they need to rush everything because we have the Victory Tour, the District 12 scenes, the training and the Game. But all I see is a perfectly told story that paces very well. Speaking of the Victory Tours, I gotta give props to them because you can spot parents or siblings of the fallen Tributes from the first movie and they looked really similar. Praise of the casting department.
However the film is not without flaws. My major gripe with the movie is that they completely abandoned Haymitch’s days in his arena. The scene was meant to showcase two things, the force field thing and the reason why Haymitch turned into an alcoholic. The force field thing gets explained by Beetee so I guess that’s why they ditch Haymitch’s scene. Also because of the lack of the 50th Hunger Games footage, casual viewers who didn’t read the book will not now that the 1st & 2nd Quarter Quell totally have different rules. It would be interesting to see that they note that in the 2nd Quarter Quell the number of tributes are doubled. Also, they didn’t mentioned more about Annie, Finnick’s girlfriend’s past. They did mentioned that she turned into a maniac but forgot to state that the reason she became like that is because she saw a Tribute gets DECAPITATED. Maybe it’s because of the PG-13 rating though. To be honest, the Game itself barely shows any blood, save for the blood rain part.
Overall, if you enjoyed the first movie, you will enjoy it more in this one. It’s like every flaws (i.e, shaky cam) from the previous movie are removed and you got a near perfect move. Not really perfect though but it is way better than just watching a very satisfying movie. The acting is extremely good, especially Jennifer Lawrence’s, the pacing were great and the description of the arena is phenomenal.
Because I love Jennifer Lawrence, I Want to Watch This Again and Again and Again!!!