I still do not agree with the 9 and 10 star ratings but I feel this movie is slightly better than the first one. This is primarily because Jennifer Lawrence’s character is more mature and she seems more comfortable in the role. She is no longer an immature, naive and lost child. At least not most of the time. The entire setup is still as ludicrous as before. It is a silly and depressing background scenario and it is definitely not my cup of tea. The people running around in ridiculous hair-do, makeup and showing a severe lack of intelligence is not making things better. The enjoyment of this movie comes when the games finally start. These parts are definitely better than in the first movie. The various dangers are well done, the effects good and there is an interesting overall theme to the arena and the dangers instead of randomly throwing new menaces at players that seemed to be the strategy in the first movie. To me the enjoyment of this movie is in the games themselves. This is probably because I just do not like the rest of the plot. The depressing scenario. The nonsensical and/or oppressive behavior, backstabbing etc. etc.
More of the same stuff. Lawrence is not bad and I think Josh Hutcherson is a great discovering but that's mostly it.
This is a sequel to 2012's HUNGER GAMES, and is set in the same future world: a post-apocalyptic world where an Empire, called Panem, has imposed peace on the survivors only to decay into brutal tyranny. The symbol of the tyranny is the Hunger Games, a gladiator-type combat where only one "victor" is permitted and the rest of the fighters die. To keep the flow of victims coming, 12 districts of Panem are required each year to supply a teenage boy and girl for the fight, ostensibly as punishment for decades-old rebellion. The theme of this movie is the moral issues over how to oppose such tyranny. Katniss Everdeen ( Jennifer Lawrence), the spirited girl who won the previous year's Games, wishes to stop the oppression, but fears that outright revolution will hurt too many people. There is another character (whom I won't identify to avoid spoilers) who doesn't care how many people are hurt as long as the revolution is advanced. Many of the subjects of the Empire are resigned to submitting until some messianic deliverer will appear. Meanwhile the ruthless President-for-life Coriolanus Snow ( Donald Sutherland) is determined to destroy the rebels before they can get organized. Who will win out? Therein lies the suspense. There are enough special effects to make the futuristic background and technology credible without overwhelming the movie. Aside from Lawrence and Sutherland as the impressive antagonists, the movie has a strong supporting cast: Woody Harrelson as Katniss's shrewd but alcoholic mentor; Liam Hemworth and Josh Hutcherson as two boys representing the aggressive vs sensitive sides of Katniss's character; Elizabeth Banks as a kindly but naive woman oblivious to the tyranny; Oscar-winner Philip Hoffman as Snow's Machiavellian adviser, and Sam Clafin, Jeffrey Wright, and Jena Malone as formidable former victors drawn into the conflict. The movie's only real flaw is that being part of a continuing story keeps the plot from being resolved in the end.