The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes takes place around 60 years before the events of the first film. The narrative is easy to understand and director Francis Lawrence introduces the characters and setting neatly. The film has a lot of nail-biting moments that keep the interest going. However, the film is too long (157 minutes). The third act is fine but not as tense and gripping as the second act and also, it moves at a slow pace. The film belongs to Rachel Zegler and there’s no doubt that this powerhouse of talent is here to stay and shine. Tom Blyth gets a bit overshadowed but does equally well. Viola Davis is over the top and yet, she is likeable. Peter Dinklage is excellent as expected. Jason Schwartzman (Lucretius Flickerman; television host), Josh Andrés Rivera (Sejanus Plinth), Nick Benson (Jessup; male tribute from 12th district) and Mackenzie Lansing (Coral; who is determined to finish Lucy in the games) also leave a mark. All in all, The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes is a fine entertainer and a must watch for the fans of the series.
My rating – *** out of 5!