Critics Say ‘Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Is ‘Magnificent,’ ‘Gritty and Complex’

The young-adult dystopian trilogy’s prequel will be released Nov. 17

Rachel Zegler in "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" (Lionsgate)

On Sunday, critics and reviewers teased early reactions to “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” many of which are overwhelmingly positive. The prequel debuts in theaters on Nov. 17 — full reviews are set to drop Tuesday.

TheWrap’s own Scott Mendelson joined those who enjoyed the movie. He wrote, “The new #HungerGames is pretty great. Superbly constructed and exquisitely acted, it wrestles with the franchise’s complicated pop culture legacy while thriving as a ‘money’s on the screen’ Imax blockbuster. Zegler gives a full-on movie star turn and Davis is a macabre hoot.”

Russ Milheim of The Direct said, “The latest #HungerGames is fantastic. It’s an incredibly faithful adaptation whose slight tweaks actively improve the source material (especially act 3). The entire cast is phenomenal and the world of Panem is beautifully realized thanks to the immaculate production design.”

In a lengthy tweet, Erik Davis of Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango said, “Really loved the new #HungerGames movie – right up there with Catching Fire in terms of best of the entire series, imo. Solid story, dug the twists. Great action sequences, character development & world expansion, but the real star is the cast. They crush it.”

He continued, “Rachel Zegler truly shines in this. Her character Lucy Gray is very different from Katniss, and the tense, twisty dynamics between Lucy and Tom Blyth’s Coriolanus are a treat to watch. Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage are powerhouses and wildly compelling, as they are. Davis’s character in particular is so devious, and it’s SO marvelous to watch.”

“I didn’t know what to expect from #BalladOfSongbirdsAndSnakes, but shout out to all involved. This is a good, entertaining watch that works for both longtime fans of the Hunger Games and people who are brand new to the franchise. It’s a definite recommend from me!”

The Hollywood Handle described the film as “a magnificent movie that enriches the original franchise” and David Gonzalez of The Cinematic Reel praised it as a “gritty & complex return to the franchise.”

The Hollywood Handle tweeted, “#HungerGames #TheBalladOfSongbirdsAndSnakes is a magnificent movie that enriches the original franchise. The cast is outstanding, Pete Dinklage, Rachel Zegler, Viola Davis and Tom Blyth are STANDOUTS. Production design and score being also highlights. Full review on Nov 7.”

The Hollywood Handle’s founder, Richard Neto, separately recommended the movie. He tweeted, “I can finally talk about it and YES, #HungerGames TBOSAS is wonderful. The cast is magnificent and the movie was so well crafted, its production design, the score, everything is just so perfect. Not my favorite from the franchise but still so good. @rachelzegler you’re a queen.”

The Cinematic Reel’s Gonzalez similarly praised the prequel and tweeted, “The #HungerGames: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes offers cinephiles odds that are in their favor. A gritty & complex return to the franchise rich with stellar action, dark comedy & exceptional performances.”

He added, “Rachel Zegler astounds with her stunning voice while Tom Blyth mesmerizes while his morality deteriorates as the villainous Coriolanus Snow emerges. 1 of the best in the franchise thus far!”

Next Big Picture’s Daniel Howat wrote, “THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES is the best #HungerGames movie yet. It’s darker, more of a character study than anything, but always genuinely entertaining. With high stakes, solid action, and killer performances, it’s a thrilling return to Panem.”

Even people who haven’t seen a “Hunger Games” movie or who don’t typically love the franchise enjoyed the film. As The Bro Bible’s Eric Italiano tweeted, “Never saw a #HungerGames film prior to Songbirds & Snakes I liked it! TOO long but still well-paced, compelling story, Zegler is a superstar, the music is great. Surprisingly violent too! Also really cool to not realize it was a movie about a villain till there was an hour left.”

Grace Randolph, the creator of YouTube’s Beyond the Trailer, agreed. She tweeted, “The new #HungerGames movie is actually pretty good I’m not a huge fan of the franchise and I was definitely entertained! #BalladofSongBirdsandSnakes Review embargo lifts Thursday!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.