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A. A. Dowd’s “Catching Fire Is a Superior Sequel” Emerges Triumphant

In response to A.A. Dowd’s 807‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on AV Club 

http://www.avclub.com/review/in-all-ways-except-originality-catching-fire-is-a-105787

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Like a Panem youth emerging victorious from a bloody deathmatch, A. A. Dowd’s “In all ways except originality, Catching Fire is a superior sequel” steps over the corpses of its peers, having bested them in battle. Nuanced, well-balanced and informative, this is a review that gets everything right.

Dowd starts the review at a full sprint, taking Catching Fire‘s predecessor to task for sanitizing the violence of its source material and turning moral ambiguity into a good-guy-vs. -bad-guy Hollywood cliche. From there, he moves on to comparing that to the sequel, and discusses whether or not those sins are repeated.

Thankfully, Dowd does not spend too much time comparing the two films. Instead, he wisely moves on to discussing Catching Fire on its own terms. He does so with a concentration of insight that is sorely lacking from many film reviews. It truly feels like not a word of the review is wasted.

Dowd does not fall into the trap of blindly praising the film, nor does he fail to give credit where credit is due. Instead, Catching Fire is a superior sequel treads on ground that is often difficult to find: the middle ground. Combined with Dowd’s skills for writing compelling criticism, the result is a review that is well-rounded without being dull.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation