Catching Fire Movie Reviews are in… Here’s the Roundup

Perhaps, our very own James Rocchi said it best: “Katniss is back, and there’s gonna be trouble.”

Based on the roundup of early reviews, the spectacle of Catching Fire is not just the spectacle of the Hunger Games. It is also in the torrent of well-deserved attention that the film itself – an its leading lady, Jennifer Lawrence – are garnering from critics around the globe. And, while the franchise seems poised to strengthen it’s already strong position, it might just be Lawrence herself whose value has risen to the next level. As Drew McWeeny of HitFix put it, “Jennifer Lawrence may have seemed like a gamble when she got the role, but now [Gray] Ross looks positively prescient.”

The Guardian: Catching Fire – first look review

JENNIFER LAWRENCE & JOSH HUTCHERSON  Character(s): Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark   Film 'THE HUNGE

The Hunger Games are fraught with risk; the stakes are high and there’s danger at every turn – and that’s just the movie franchise.

Built around a Battle Royale style event in which teenagers fight each other to the death, the first instalment of this series last year made nearly three quarters of a billion dollars at the global box office. To put that into context: $300m more than the original Twilight movie.

The success came down partly to a peculiar alchemy which made the film and the book it derived from equally attractive to both adolescent boys and girls. As you’d expect, every effort has been made to maintain that magic in the sequel.

Read more on The Guardian

Badass Digest: A Subversive, Exciting SciFi Epic


From the outside The Hunger Games: Catching Fire looks like a rehash of the first film. Once again Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mallark are thrown into the Arena, ordered to fight to the death against 22 other opponents on live television as part of the way the Capital keeps the outlying, ever-rebellious Districts in line. But the brilliance of Catching Fire’s structure is that while some of the beats remain the same the context is ingeniously changed; things sound similar on paper but feel completely different as they play out on screen.

The movie opens some time after the events of The Hunger Games. Katniss has returned to District 12, where she still illegally hunts with the hunky Gale, but this time she brings a dose of PTSD with her into the woods. While her victory in the Arena was based on pretending to love Peeta, she can’t even look the kid in the eyes back home. They live across the street from each other in Victor’s Village, an empty, foreboding gated community set away from the hardscrabble miners of the District. In winning they have lost everything that connected them to their own people.

Read more on Badass Digest

Slashfilm: A Worthy Sequel That Improves on the Original

Katniss-and-Peeta-Catching-Fire-StillThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire isn’t your typical blockbuster sequel. Yes it’s bigger and better than the original movie. The stakes have been raised and new characters are added. But what makes Catching Fire unique is how it’s infused with a gravitas most major Hollywood entertainment lacks. At every single turn, the plight of the citizens of Panem is felt as they face the cruel tyranny of the Capitol, adding layers of pathos and tension to everything we see. Couple that with the impressive IMAX visuals and a more surprising story, and Catching Fire joins that rare breed of sequels that improve on the original.

In Catching Fire, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are about to go on a nationwide tour celebrating their victory in the 74th annual Hunger Games. It’s supposed to be the beginning of a wonderful life of leisure, but thanks to the defiant way they won those Games, things are beginning to change everywhere. They’re forced to act as government puppets as the citizens of their country Panem get more and more openly angry at the government’s control. Eventually, the Capitol makes an example of the pair, and the recent winners are forced to go back into the Games to face 22 other previous victors.

Read more on Slashfilm

The Playlist: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth & Josh Hutcherson


Francis Lawrence is a filmmaker I typically associate with bland proficiency, but “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”—which honestly required nothing more than that to be considered successful—is something truly remarkable. Easily the most sophisticated and thoughtful franchise film of 2013, Lawrence’s adaptation of the second novel in Suzanne Collins’ young adult series is all-things-to-all-people entertainment, a follow-up that intensifies the first film’s thrills while simultaneously developing its characters and, even more crucially, expanding its themes. The rare sequel that surpasses its predecessor, ‘Catching Fire’ tackles head-on the repercussions of the events of “The Hunger Games,” deepening Collins’ cinematic mythology even as it proves that teen-lit is more than capable of tackling complex ideas.

Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) returns as Katniss Everdeen, whose victory with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) at the Hunger Games has earned them the adoration of everyone in Panem—except for President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Blaming the duo’s rule-breaking romance for an emerging rebellion, Snow attempts to use their victory tour to restore order by reminding districts of the authority of the Capitol. But when that fails, Snow calls upon head gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to engineer a twist forcing Katniss and Peeta to compete again, this time against other victors from the previous 25 competitions.

Read more on Indiewire

Huffington Post: Reviews Love Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence

Not that anyone should be surprised, but even critics love Jennifer Lawrence. Planet Earth’s favorite actress and quote machine stars as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and reviewers have not only embraced the franchise’s second entry, but Lawrence herself.

“[Lawrence] continues to impress as someone who shatters the archetype that exists for ‘strong young woman’ in these types of movies,” HitFix critic Drew McWeeny wrote of the Oscar-winning actress in his “Catching Fire” review. “There is nothing easy about the work that Lawrence does on film. She has so much going on as a performer that at some point, I don’t really care where the story is going. I just like watching her in this world. She is difficult. She is unwilling to do things ‘right.’ She frequently can’t even deal with her friends, much less her enemies. Katniss feels real, and Lawrence is setting the bar for films like this. She is no cookie-cutter Disney princess or Buffy clone.”

Read more on Huff Post

HitFix: Jennifer Lawrence digs in as ‘Catching Fire’ ups the stakes for Katniss Everdeen


Gary Ross is going to end up being the Chris Columbus of the “Hunger Games” franchise, the guy who set up a solid template before stepping aside for a director who brought a much stronger sense of style to the series. I think the first “Hunger Games” film is a much better movie overall than the first two “Harry Potter” films were, but I think the weakest link in what Ross did with the first film was his visual plan. I liked that he seemed unconcerned with spectacle, but there could definitely have been a richer sense of world-building in someone else’s hands.

What Ross got completely right, though, was casting, and he got really lovely performances out of his entire cast. Jennifer Lawrence may have seemed like a gamble when she got the role, but now Ross looks positively prescient. It’s one thing to cast one person correctly, but Ross built a very odd ensemble that doesn’t make completely sense on paper, but that seems to perfectly embody the world that Suzanne Collins created. With this second film, new director Francis Lawrence takes that solid ensemble, adds some important new pieces to that group, and then expands the world in a way that doesn’t throw out Ross’s film, but that uses it as a way to get to something even better.

Read more at HitFix

Cinephiled: Review: ‘Catching Fire’

KatnissThe follow-up to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire is a film whose specifics seem to be poles apart. It is the rousing, character-driven continuation of a near-future saga that somehow combines widescreen metaphors, close-quarter soap opera and spectacle not only for the sake of boffo IMAX spectacle but also as critique of spectacle. But Catching Fire is also, and this is said without any shame or stigma attached along, the middle bit.

That middle bit status doesn’t mean anything too horrible — The Empire Strikes Back was a middle bit, for one example — but it is, as a statement of fact, a good indicator of much of what happens in Catching Fire as Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen is plunged back into the thick of various arenas, both literal and metaphorical. Director Francis Lawrence takes over from Gary Ross — Lawrence is also signed for the two-film enterprise that will adapt the final book in the series — and brings a glossy, fleet sensibility to this film while staying within all of the world-building Ross and his crew did.

Read the complete Catching Fire review here.

The Hollywood Reporter: Catching Fire: Film Review

catching-fire-movie-stillThe Bottom Line – The book literally put onscreen, which will delight fans to no end.

The second big-screen installment of Suzanne Collins’ YA trilogy sees Jennifer Lawrence return as the heroic Katniss Everdeen with new faces Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright and Sam Claflin joining the franchise.

As faithful as Argos or Old Yeller, Snowy or Hachiko, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire runs no risk of disappointing its absolutely ravenous target audience. Serving up everything from Suzanne Collins’ eventful second installment in her trilogy about teenage warrior and rebel Katniss Everdeen that fans could possibly want to see, this is a safe, serviceable, carefully crafted action drama in which the subversive seeds planted in the first story take welcome root. As before, Jennifer Lawrence is the superb center of it all and the massive success of this Lionsgate release is as certain as the turning of the Earth.

Read more on The Hollywood Reporter

More Catching Fire on Cinephiled:

Killer Tributes: Who’s Who In ‘Catching Fire’
Know Your Peeta From Your Gale: Who’s Who In ‘Catching Fire’
Movie Review: ‘Catching Fire’
The Final ‘Catching Fire’ Trailer