I am a populist motherfucker. This was great. It really was. It's most basic improvement is the introduction of character complexity (followed then by quality camera work). Peeta has a personality! He's the humanitarian to Gale's violent man. The movie succeeds in defining what his actual role is in this series: if Katniss inspires everyone, he's the one that inspires Katniss. THE STAR WHO SHINES ITS LIGHT ON THE STAR WHO SHINES ITS LIGHT ON US. You see. I think she is actually more of a manipulated-into-being hero that she's given discredit for. Resourceful, yes, but mostly just an instrument played by other people. Lucked into the role of a waving flag. But that's just, again, the introduction of complexity. Everyone around her can be shady because she has to be the symbol, pure. It feels bigger because you really don't know who to trust (which is appropriate for a movie where the goal is the death of everyone but you). To that end, it simplifies appropriately – everyone's given a badass moment or a signature 'thing.' As Katniss had her flaming dress. It's the easiest way to make us care about the various characters who may or may not die – make them do or be something cool. Whereas Pacific Rim took that same note and made it boring, 'Catching Fire' makes it better simply by doing it better. That's it. It's just a movie that is made well.