We’re back at the Hunger Games, where an evil government has draftees from various oppressed regions fight each other to the death, until only one person is left standing. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), survivor of last year’s round, is initially a pawn for the System, then increasingly becomes an obstacle and is thrown into the Games again for a second round, which is intended to be fatal.
Katniss is a more reluctant heroine than most. She was just trying to survive the first Games she took part in, faking a crowdpleasing romance and taking a big gamble in the end that saved the life of her and her pseudo-love interest. Becoming a symbol for hope and rebellion was never part of her plan, but there she is, caught in the role. The people around her value her more than she does herself.
The second movie is more entertaining than the first, even if it does have some of the same flaws. Katniss is thrown into a situation again where she could easily be morally compromised and then the script conspires to let her live without doing so. She is never pitched against someone who does not deserve to die. The new battlefield – designed especially for the Games at presumably insane cost – has a complex logic to it, but the point of it is somewhat unclear. I guess entertainment-value mostly, for both the viewers within this fictional world and the ones in our own.
Katniss does have a few moments where she rises to the occasion and does something really smart, but she spends a lot of her time getting carried along and simply reacting to things. She has a great moment at the end, though, that makes it seem she is ready to get more proactive. This promises good things for the last two movies, though the book (singular) on which these will be based was apparently the weakest part of the trilogy. Catching Fire didn’t really set my world alight, but thanks in no small part to Jennifer Lawrence’s charisma, it is still a cut above most blockbuster flicks.