The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2011 blockbuster, takes Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) on a publicity stunt tour through the districts to their home in District 12, and then unexpectedly back into the blood-letting games.

The second installment in the franchise based on Suzanne Collins' young adult novel series promises to engage and satisfy even more viewers than its predecessors, according to critics. With Francis Lawrence replacing Gary Ross at the helm and with additions of the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin and Jena Malone, Catching Fire has been dubbed an improvement and sure to be a bona fide success

Critics On 'Catching Fire'

“What are the odds? Like Katniss Everdeen ducking a poison-tip arrow, the keepers of Suzanne Collins’s trilogy of fantasy novels have dodged the perils of the sloppy second franchise film. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is leaner, gutsier and smarter. In hand-to-hand combat, it would have the first film on the floor, trapped in a headlock, whimpering for mercy. Over two-and-a-half heart-pounding hours, it doesn’t drag for a second.” – Cath Clarke, Time Out

“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. Although Catching Fire had a rushed and tumultuous preproduction period due to the departure of original director Gary Ross and a quick search for a new one that settled on Francis Lawrence (no relation to the star), the film shows no signs of haste. The script by Simon Beaufoy and Michael deBruyn reflects the shape, emphasis and incident of the book with almost scientific precision, and the desire to deliver the expected goods is keenly felt.” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

The Hunger Games featured kids killing kids for sport. Its sequel, the far superior The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, rewrites the rules, which not only makes for a more exciting death match, but also yields a rich sociopolitical critique in the process, in keeping with the incendiary subtext of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian novel. Though technically just the bridge between the lower-budget original and the two-part finale still to come, in director Francis Lawrence’s steady hands Catching Fire makes for rousing entertainment in its own right, leaving fans riled and ready to storm the castle.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire serves up food for thought and jolts of adrenaline in equal doses, which is more than most YA adaptations have managed to deliver. Dismiss it as a popcorn movie if you must, but at least they’ve bothered to serve it with real butter and truffle salt.” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

The Hunger Games hits theaters Friday, Nov. 22.

– Chelsea Regan

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For More 'The Hunger Games' News:

Jennifer Lawrence Wows At ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Premiere

Jennifer Lawrence Chops Her Hair Off, Says It Was 'Fried'

‘Mockingjay' News: Julianne Moore Joins Cast Of ‘Hunger Games’ Sequel

Evan Ross Cast In 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2'

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