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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes - Review

Snow Always Lands on Top.

3 / 5

The Guardians of the Galaxy team line up

Directed by Francis Lawrence.

64 years before he becomes the tyrannical president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow sees a chance for a change in fortunes when he mentors Lucy Gray Baird.

In a world of endless sequels, prequels and spin-offs, it was inevitable that a return to Panem and the Hunger Games universe would happen eventually - I'm just surprised it took this long.

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes takes audiences back to the 10th Hunger Games with the story now focusing on a young Coriolanus Snow before he becomes the tyrannical president in his later years. It's an interesting premise to go back and explore an antagonist's gradual journey into darkness but this tale ends up feeling unearned with a rushed final act that leaves you with more questions than when you arrived.

Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler bring a needed layer of depth to the story, both delivering excellent on-screen chemistry as Snow and Lucy Gray Baird. Having director Francis Lawrence return was a masterstroke as he brought back a familiar visual language from the original series.

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes is not bad. In fact, with its distinct chapters, it makes for a dramatic and entertaining experience balancing stories of class struggle, brutalist action and delicate love - it just doesn't satisfyingly achieve what it set out to do.

Will there be yet another sequel to bridge the gap? Maybe.

Was there likely lots of symbolism and callbacks that went over my head that would have made more sense if you've read the books? Likely.

But do I know what led Coriolanus Snow to snap and rise to power as the all-powerful president? Still, no.

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