"Will keep you on your toes from start to finish and leave you wanting more"

Some would say that 'sequel' is a dirty word, what with the plethora of superfluous second offerings that don't live up to or surpass their predecessors. Thankfully, however, Francis Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire doesn't fall into that category, as we are instead presented with a film that not only matches the original piece, even manages to surpass it in almost every way.

That's not to say the first was a disappointing film, either, and the mandatory laying down of the narrative and introductory elements were entirely necessary. Nonetheless, Catching Fire is a more accomplished, compelling feature, and a real treat for those yet to read the Suzanne Collins novels of which this is based upon, as the plot twists bear more of a surprise. Meanwhile there is a danger with sequels, that there is always the temptation of going off book somewhat, and really upping the ante with huge spectacles, and while Catching Fire does have a few grandiose sequences, it stays firmly as a character driven piece, expanding the world we were introduced to by Gary Ross.

So we are reintroduced to Katniss "The Girl on Fire" Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in her home of District 12, adjusting to life as the victor of the 74th games, and preparing to embark on a 'District Tour' alongside fellow winner and apparent love interest Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Away from the bright lights of the Capitol and the impassioned media, Katniss harbours a resentment towards Peeta, and one disregarded when the cameras are rolling, as the pair appear as the 'star crossed lovers' they are pressurised to be. As they embark on the tour, it becomes apparent that an uprising has been sparked and is utilising Katniss as a symbol of hope, however President Snow (played brilliantly once again by Donald Sutherland) has other more sinister plans for the rebels and Katniss, announcing the 3rd Quarter Quell, which is designed to pit past victors against past victors in a game of death, much like the 74th games, only this time the combatants are all advanced and vicious killers.

The cast is brilliant as the returning actors all show that they are more comfortable with their characters, while director Lawrence has elegantly built upon the world, showing that Catching Fire is not a mere parody to what came before. He remains faithful to the intense sense of danger and plight that we can connect with, while the love story certainly plays a more superior role - though never overpowering proceedings. Meanwhile the additions to the cast; most notably Sam Claflin as Fennick, Jena Malone as Johanna, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the strategic Games master Plutarch Heavensbee, are all welcomed additions, ensuring that Catching Fire is a fresh addition into an already strong franchise.

From Gibbon attacks to poison fog, alliances made and alliances broken, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will keep you on your toes from start to finish and leave you wanting more, and with two more films to come from Francis Lawrence and company, it seems that more is exactly what we're fortunate to be getting.