Oscar -winner Jennifer Lawrence is right on target again in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the epic sequel to the 2012 megahit about a strong-willed female archer in a dystopian future.
The eagerly anticipated film, which is based on the second volume in the best-selling Suzanne Collins trilogy, won't hit theaters until Thursday midnight. To tide you over till then, here are five off-the-cuff reactions after seeing it Monday. Read my full review Tuesday.
1. Is it as good as the first film? Yes. In fact, it's a better made film, with the secondary characters -- especially the Tributes -- being more fully developed.
2. Which new actor or actress stands out? Tie! Jena Malone as feisty Tribute Johanna Mason and Philip Seymour Hoffman as crafty gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee play pivotal roles and leave indelible impressions.
3. Does Liam Hemsworth get more screen time? Just a wee bit. But don't fret. Josh Hutcherson comes across as a more confident Peeta and Sam Claflin as Finnick provides ample eye candy.
4. Will fans of the book like it? The one seated right next to me liked it not just a little, but a lot.
5. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. It ranks as one of the best blockbusters of the year; exciting and thought-provoking.