Katniss and Peeta’s success in the previous games has led to them becoming a symbol for civil disobedience – despite the best efforts of the establishment – so the President calls for a new tournament in which the surviving victors are sent back to the arena to fight and thereby destroy either her, or her credibility.
Catching Fire continues the franchise in a bigger, bolder and more spectacular manner. The themes that were really only touched on in the first film are more fully explored and we see more of the world they must inhabit. The teen-friendly gloss once again prevents any real grittiness or bleakness which makes the film still seem a little toothless considering the themes of oppression and fascistic violence, but this still leaves more room for depth and style than did the original. It does have flaws which are ingrained in the fact that is part of an ongoing franchise; the “games” section is once again the least interesting part of the film and it ends very abruptly, the finale just paving the way for its sequel rather than providing any kind of satisfying resolution.
But it certainly succeeds in its intent to pique this viewer’s interest as to how the story will continue, making it a worthy and ultimately superior sequel.