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Todd McCarthy Mesmerizes in Strong, Long “Catching Fire” Review

In response to Todd McCarthy’s 1174‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Hollywood Reporter

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Heavy on explication and recap, Todd McCarthy’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is nevertheless a fine piece of work, even at 500 or so words more than necessary to make his salient observations stick with audiences.

There are no punches pulled in McCarthy’s first act, as readers are told precisely what to expect from this work: there’s plenty here to be excited about, some new faces to become acquainted with, and that delectable hint of subversion allowed to grow.

Catching Fire by McCarthy visits each of these ideas in turn and discusses them at length, and for the hefty 1200-word readtime, the critic chooses his words carefully, as the work shuffles forward in broad movements. More than box office grosses or directorial changes, Catching Fire is about people and the situations that threaten to break them.

McCarthy’s work analyzes that volatile combination of betrayal and subversion, somehow related but a powerful weapon when combined in proper doses. It’s harrowing, edge-of-your-seat type fare, but the reviewmaker handles it with care. Readers will feel a bit out to sea, but tethered by the author’s control of his work.

“A step up” in the quality of the material also marks a fine step for veteran McCarthy, who knows how to entertain and even mesmerize in a piece that offers more questions than answers. It’s a thrilling and strong effort for new readers and old fans.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation