Set 64 years before the events of ‘The Hunger Games’ this prequel introduces us to a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), a privileged (or so he makes the world believe) young man forced to mentor a ragamuffin tribute (Rachel Zegler) in the 10th edition of the morbid festivities. Directed by Francis Lawrence (who helmed the last three films of the original series), it has much of the feel and atmosphere you’d expect in a return to the dystopian nation author Suzanne Collins created but does suffer a bit from the games themselves being confined to an indoor arena. And though the absence of Jennifer Lawrence in this world is certainly felt, there’s still enough to almost make up for it, including delightfully wicked performances from Peter Dinklage as the Games’ creator and Viola Davis as the head gamemaker. It may pale a bit in comparison to the first go-round, but it’s still a decent return to Panem.

3.5/5 stars