The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 47
  2. Negative: 0 out of 47
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Nov 20, 2013
    80
    Catching Fire is a great leap forward for the franchise. Seeing as it’s all about hope and what it represents, here’s hoping the next two are just as good, if not better.
  2. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Nov 20, 2013
    67
    The Hunger Games franchise, both in print and onscreen, has been exceptionally clever about cozying away imaginative space for fans to fill in the blanks and cast themselves in the rich drama. That this latest film leaves us hungering for more only means that it’s working.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 21, 2013
    88
    Very few people will take in this spectacle of a society amusing itself to death, of “reality games” and the vapid media hysteria that surrounds them, and not draw a parallel to our own televised bread and circuses. At its best, “Catching Fire” is a blockbuster that bites the culture that made it.
  4. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Nov 21, 2013
    67
    Lawrence gives the same committed, heart-rending performance, and she’s even more saintly than before: The script never lets her fire an arrow except in self-defense, and she stubbornly defies Snow in public, though she knows the probable consequence is death. Hutcherson has more personality this time, yet Peeta doesn’t deepen as a character.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Nov 19, 2013
    88
    Catching Fire makes only the occasional misstep.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 19, 2013
    75
    Catching Fire has the bonus of a genuinely charismatic performer at its center. Jennifer Lawrence, now an Oscar winner thanks to "Silver Linings Playbook," emotes like crazy throughout "Catching Fire," but you never catch her acting.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 21, 2013
    83
    As teencentric franchises go, I much prefer The Hunger Games to the blessedly expired “Twilight” films. For one thing, they employ much better actors. My favorite: Amanda Plummer, one of the best and most underused actresses in America, as one of the Quell contestants.
  8. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Nov 12, 2013
    80
    Defying rote heroics and sidestepping those solemn Frodoisms lurking in the role, Lawrence seeks out the complex, human and earthy in Katniss, still the beating heart and total triumph of these movies.
  9. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Nov 20, 2013
    75
    Catching Fire is smoothly exciting but a bit of a tease.
  10. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Nov 19, 2013
    79
    Steady-handed action is enough to elevate this film above its predecessor.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 20, 2013
    80
    An effective piece of melodramatic popular entertainment that savvily builds on the foundation established by the first Hunger Games movie.
  12. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Nov 20, 2013
    75
    Catching Fire is a work of thoughtful, emotionally engaging sci-fi — everything that its predecessor The Hunger Games was not.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 19, 2013
    80
    The good news is it comes very close, and does it without sacrificing its soul. Despite its sense of been-here-slayed-that, director Francis Lawrence expertly delivers thrills, ideas and spectacle.
  14. 80
    Relatively speaking, Catching Fire is terrific. Even nonrelatively, it's pretty damn good.
  15. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Nov 19, 2013
    75
    Yes, it’s the middle chapter and feels like it, but it’s never dull.
  16. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Nov 22, 2013
    79
    Everything that felt clumsy in The Hunger Games has been improved upon here. That's most apparent in the clarity of the action, but it also extends to how efficiently the film establishes so many new ensemble members.
  17. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 19, 2013
    75
    Catching Fire is bigger, better and broodier than the first film.
  18. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Nov 19, 2013
    83
    Lawrence steps up. And her character's fierce independence provides a welcome alternative to certain vampire-fixated young-adult heroines who define themselves entirely through the attention of much-much-older men.
  19. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Nov 19, 2013
    88
    The screen translation of Catching Fire, the second volume of the series, offers its audience many of the elements that made The Hunger Games compelling, but adds to that by deepening the themes and emotional currents and traveling to darker destinations.
  20. Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    Nov 22, 2013
    75
    With each on-screen chapter, the poor girl from District 12 continues to fulfill her destiny as an inspiration and a rebel fighter. She is but one female, but she's the perfect antidote to the surplus of male superheroes out there.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Nov 21, 2013
    88
    Pop-culture escapism can be thrilling when dished out by experts. Katniss is a character worth a handful of sequels. And Lawrence lights up the screen. You'll follow her anywhere.
  22. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 21, 2013
    80
    It’s a middle chapter, for sure, but a vigorous and fast-paced one that leaves you hungry for more.
  23. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Nov 21, 2013
    75
    Best in its first hour, when it concentrates on the politics and the specific horrors of Panem. It becomes more conventional in the second half and loses steam, but it's always heading somewhere.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Larson
    Nov 15, 2013
    75
    Francis Lawrence imbues the source material with visceral pleasure in well-wrought scenes vacillating between elaborate spectacle, breathtaking terror, and--occasionally--surprising beauty.
  25. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Nov 21, 2013
    70
    Insofar as Catching Fire does ignite, the match to the flame is Jennifer Lawrence, who gives Katniss layers she lacks even in the books’ fairly rich characterization.
  26. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 21, 2013
    63
    The ingredients are in place for a potent finale, but “Catching Fire” is watered down.
  27. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Nov 19, 2013
    91
    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is movie escapism made with intelligence, and that doesn't come around often enough. As I sensed this movie ending I wished it wouldn't, and when it did I wanted the next one now. Take that, Bilbo.
  28. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Nov 19, 2013
    75
    Like too many franchise installments, Catching Fire builds to more of an ellipsis than a period, teasing the next chapter instead of providing closure. But isn’t that true of "The Empire Strikes Back" as well? At least casual fans will only have to wait a year, not three, to see what happens next in this galaxy not so far away.
  29. Reviewed by: Genevieve Koski
    Nov 19, 2013
    80
    It’s not just bigger, it’s better, and it bodes well for the future of the series, if not necessarily of its unlucky protagonist.
  30. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Nov 21, 2013
    88
    The result is not only a dramatic improvement over what was already an unusually smart and satisfying pop-cultural parable of insurgent 99-per-cent rebellion, but a very likely candidate for the all-time-great-sequel sweepstakes.
  31. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Nov 12, 2013
    70
    This is a safe, serviceable, carefully crafted action drama in which the subversive seeds planted in the first story take welcome root.
  32. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 21, 2013
    70
    Catching Fire isn’t a great work of art but it’s a competent, at times exciting movie and it does something that better, more artistically notable movies often fail to do: It speaks to its moment in time.
  33. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Nov 12, 2013
    91
    Catching Fire is a monumental achievement, a massively entertaining crowd-pleaser that is thought-provoking and personally inspiring in all of the ways that it aspires to be.
  34. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Nov 12, 2013
    80
    It’s a critic’s instinct to auto-praise any blockbuster that tries to do something different, but Catching Fire is so committed to carrying on the fine work started by its predecessor that the applause flows utterly naturally.
  35. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Nov 20, 2013
    80
    Spinning in that wedding dress, or glaring in wary repose, Lawrence catches fire on screen.
  36. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Nov 12, 2013
    80
    Catching Fire looks and feels epic. Hands down it’s one of the most entertaining films of the year.
  37. Reviewed by: Paul Bradshaw
    Nov 12, 2013
    80
    Catching Fire delivers on all the promise of Part 1 with a gutsier, tougher, better round of Games.
  38. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Nov 20, 2013
    63
    Crowd-pleasing and compelling, most of all because of its fiery, charismatic heroine.
  39. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Nov 12, 2013
    90
    [Francis] Lawrence and his team have calibrated the entire experience for maximum engagement. And while its pleasures can’t touch the thrill of seeing the Death Star destroyed — not yet, at least — the film runs circles around George Lucas’ ability to weave complex political ideas into the very fabric of B-movie excitement.
  40. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Nov 18, 2013
    70
    Catching Fire suffers from the movie equivalent of middle-book syndrome: The story is wayward and rangy, on its way to being something, maybe, but not adding up to much by itself. Still, it’s entertaining as civics lessons go, and it’s a more polished, assured picture than its predecessor.
  41. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 21, 2013
    90
    Catching Fire is exceptional entertainment, a spectacle with a good mind and a pounding heart.
  42. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 21, 2013
    63
    Everyone hits their marks with gusto and believability in Catching Fire... But the engine of the entire operation is Jennifer Lawrence.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1187 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 26 out of 263
  1. Nov 22, 2013
    10
    I really liked The Hunger Games, it was truly different, original and overall very entertaining and touching. Catching fire is a really bigI really liked The Hunger Games, it was truly different, original and overall very entertaining and touching. Catching fire is a really big improvement on the first Hunger Games, no shaky cameras first of all. Not always that we get good sequels, this middle installment of a great upcoming trilogy is fun, although gripping and violent, entertaining for everyone looking for a good time. Full Review »
  2. Nov 22, 2013
    3
    The first hour or so of this movie is wonderful. It really fleshes out the setting of the sci-fi dystopia seen only very briefly in the firstThe first hour or so of this movie is wonderful. It really fleshes out the setting of the sci-fi dystopia seen only very briefly in the first movie. The second half is a train wreck of improbable circumstances and impossible to follow action scenes. People just seem to... DO THINGS for no explainable reason. I've never seen a movie go from pretty good to horrible beyond saving so quickly. If you look closely you can spot where it happens. It's right around where the actual "Hunger Games" part begins. Full Review »
  3. Nov 23, 2013
    3
    Winner of the Most Hyped Disapointment of the Year Award for sure.
    Francis Lawrence attempts to fit all the features of the book into the
    Winner of the Most Hyped Disapointment of the Year Award for sure.
    Francis Lawrence attempts to fit all the features of the book into the movie whilst trying to stick to the 2 and a half hour limit, which results in it all looking half assed and rushed, that people seem to be talking over each other and it all goes to the point where I would be happier if they had just left it out, any character development the book had has been left out, most of the characters' actions get explained perfectly in the book, in the movie it leaves the audience confused. For some inexplicable reason everyone has taken up the practise of cussing at random, and for some reason one of Katniss's prep team was killed offscreen.
    Please try harder in the future Francis Lawrence, for the sake of the fandom, humanity even.
    Full Review »