Catching Fire

This Movie Review Contains Spoilers – You were warned.

So what is up with Hunger Games Catching Fire? I got to see this baby the day before anyone else in the United States and I have to say the movie exceeds my expectations. Honestly, the books descend in my preferences sequentially so “Catching Fire” should have been meh or meh+. So what was the change?

If you don’t know the plot, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mallark are forced back into more murderdeathkill by President Snow aka Santa. Hijinks ensue. This installment is less about broody forest walking and more about “MY AXE TO YOUR FACE.” Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of axe to the facing going on in this movie. The second installment is more about drama and political commentary. That’s really more Shannon’s lane than mine. Besides, the political commentary is just kind of there. There’s not really any poignancy to it. You end up leaving the theater depressed with a message that Suzanne Collins delivered much more successfully in print.

So who saved the movie? Well, time for a fan boy rant about Johanna Mason (Jenna Malone). No, not for the reason you think. She does get naked in this movie, which is faithful to the book, but attraction is more than sex appeal. Think of her as an edgier, more violent, Loki. She’s just fun to watch. From the first moment in the games when she appears covered in blood, to her inevitable banter with the much more somber Katniss. Jennifer Lawrence plays her part well, but it shouldn’t be surprising that Malone steals the show.

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I’m going to take a step back and explain a bit of why Johanna Mason wins the attractiveness and entertainingness of this film. First, she’s damaged. Second and more importantly, she is strong and has overcome damagedness. Can you see yourself taking Katniss bar hopping? I’m betting it would be pretty dull. Bar hopping with Haymitch and Johanna? I’d lay odds they carry you home.

As long as we’re dreaming, I’d like to see a move where Haymitch, Finnick, and Mason team up to fight Loki and his Chitauri forces. Call it the Hungry Avengers, or Avenging Hunger, take your pick.

So well done hunger games. Your secondary characters have made up for your well-portrayed less interesting ones. Johanna Mason is my second fanboy crush to date…after Chloe Sullivan from Smallville.

Fanboy Rating: 5 Hmms out of 5. For more about my rating system see below.

All Movies are rated on a 5 point scale. There are five scales in all:

Snicker
Meh
Hmmm
Nice
Silence

Photo by someone named katekicksass on tumbler.

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