The seeds of rebellion are planted firmly in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
In the first installment, moviegoers were introduced to the totalitarian society of Panem—a post-apocalyptic world divided into 12 Districts.
Every year, each district is required to send two representatives (called tributes) who must compete in the Hunger Games. This televised competition forces teenagers (aged between 12 to 18 years old) to fight to the death until one victor emerges.
Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson) were able to survive the 74th Hunger Games by craftily pretending to be lovers.
District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson)
The sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, begins by showing the ever-conflicted Katniss still unwilling to assume her place in the mounting revolution against the Capitol.
She still dreams of running away with Gale Hawthorne (played by Liam Hemsworth) who constantly reminds Katniss of her new status as a beacon of hope for the masses.
Liam’s character, Gale, demonstrates more affection for Catnip (his pet name for Katniss). He also gets more screen time.
Gale Hawthorne (played by Liam Hemsworth)
At the same time, Josh’s Peeta still comes off as the devoted fighter willing to sacrifice himself in order to save his beloved Katniss.
But theirs is a tragic love in the time of revolution.
As she becomes aware of the growing discontent in the various districts, Katniss is slowly being transformed from being a reluctant warrior to becoming the face of the revolution.
Just like a soldier scarred by the horrors of war, Katniss suffers from flashbacks and nightmares, consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Best Actress Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence sets the screen on fire as she delivers equal amounts of steely resolve and heart-wrenching vulnerability.
She may be a kick-ass archer inside the arena but in the middle of the night, she is just a girl seeking reprieve from her inner demons.
When she learns that she is forced once again to enter the deadly arena for the Quarter Quell edition of the Hunger Games, Jennifer is able to translate onscreen the horrifying effect it has on her emotionally scarred character.
“Last year was child's play—this year you’re dealing with all experienced killers,” warns Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), the perennially drunk yet astute mentor of Katniss and Peeta.
However, the danger level inside the arena fails to live up to the hype since most of the tributes rarely pose any real threat to Katniss and Peeta. In fact, most of the killings take place off-screen.
New characters add an interesting twist with the arrival of the arrogant but charismatic former Games champion Finnick Odair (played by British actor Sam Claflin) and the uninhibited Johanna Mason (played by Jena Malone).
The arena is mostly covered by somber gray skies, lending a grittier and more brooding atmosphere.
When Katniss launches an attack against the “real enemy,” she literally and figuratively opens up the skies towards a new world order.
Ironically, it is the Capitol itself (through a massive act of brutality) that galvanizes Katniss to action.
In the final climactic scene, the camera zooms in on Jennifer’s face as she conveys a tidal wave of emotions ranging from grief to fiery determination.
On this note, Catching Fire ends abruptly, leaving moviegoers with even more reason to anticipate the two-part conclusion, Mockingjay.