* * * ½
(Exciting sequel. Two more to come)
The much-anticipated second film starts off with a bang and leaves us hanging in the end.
Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), fresh off their co-winning feats in “The Hunger Games,” begin their Victory Tour through the districts, promoting their phony romance and trying to make the “huddled masses” forget about their dreadful conditions. The tour is choreographed by the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland), who fears a rebellion coming.
Snow announces the rules for the 77th Hunger Games: They will be fought to the death by the former winners. Like the TV reality show “Survivor,” alliances are formed as the group fights off each other and incredible obstacles are put before them.
The 2½-hour movie is filled with interesting characters, exciting battles, super special effects and a bit of romance.
Katniss is faced with a number of moral issues, and young people who have paid attention will get the moral issues and allegorical situations. Great performances by Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci add to adventure.
Hopefully, you won’t have to wait too long for the next movie, because the plot leaves you hanging. Rated PG-13, with violence.