The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
Batman faces the ultimate challenge as the mysterious Red Hood takes Gotham City by firestorm. Half vigilante, half kingpin, Red Hood begins cleaning up Gotham with the efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code.
The opening sequence in which Batman is carrying Jason's dead body out of the rubble is taken directly from the comic book.
Ignoring what he's done in the past. Blindly, stupidly disregarding the entire grave yards he's filled, the thousands who've suffered, the friends he's crippled. You know I thought, I thought I would be the last person you'd ever let him hurt. If it would have been you he beat to a bloody pulp, if he had taken you from this world, I would have done nothing, but, search the planet until I found this pathetic pile of evil death worshiping garbage! And sent him off to hell!
The film opens with Ra's Al Ghul in his mansion receiving news that his partner, The Joker, has kidnapped Jason Todd, Robin, and is currently torturing him. Batman races to the warehouse that Joker is keeping Robin in but Ra's assistant informs him that he wont make it in time to save him. Joker leaves Robin in the warehouse and tells him to tell Batman he said "Hello". Robin attempts to escape but reaches the door only to find that Joker has locked the door and set a bomb which is counting down from 6 seconds by the time he notices it. Batman arrives just as the bomb goes off and finds Robins lifeless body under the debris of the warehouse.
The story picks up 5 years after The Joker has killed Jason Todd. There is a meeting taking place with most of Black Masks top men in attendance all wondering who called them there. The Red Hood reveals himself and claims that he has called this meeting. The gang leaders attempt to open fire on him but are suppressed by Gunfire from The Red Hood. He tells them that from now on he will be running their gangs and in return he'll offer them protection from Black Mask and Batman. He tells them that if they do not cooperate then he will kill them and then throws a bag of heads belonging to the lieutenants of all the gangs in attendance at them. He opens fire on them again and they all agree to cooperate with his demands.
Elsewhere Batman is stopping a crime in progress at the Gotham shipping docks. Batman disables the truck causing a container that was holding Amazo to fly off the truck and open. Batman engages the android and Nightwing shows up to lend a hand. The two disable the android fairly easily and begin interrogating the men that stole the truck. Batman already knows that the shipment was intended for Black Mask and demands to know who they are really working for. They attempt to tell
them who their boss is but are killed by an unknown sniper. Batman spots the sniper on a roof top across the bay and calls in his jet to give chase leaving Nightwing behind to clean up the mess. Batman chases the assailiant to a chemical factory that the shooter crashed his vehicle into. Batman looks at the place where the original Red Hood had fallen into a the vat of chemicals which would turn him into The Joker. The sniper Batman was chasing is revealed to be the new Red Hood and asks him if it is hard to forget about that night. He claims that the chemical plant is the site of his greatest failure then blows up the facility and escapes during the chaos.
Black Mask calls a meeting with some of his his men and his assistant, Ms. Li, informs him that Batman has destroyed Amazo. He tells Ms. Li to have his men take care of Red Hood then requests one of his men to give him the information on the latest weapons shipment he has coming in. Little do
they know that Batman and Red Hood both have the room bugged and are listening in on the conversation both planning to intercept the shipment. Red Hood hijacks the helicopter that has the weapons shipment for Black Mask only to have the chopper disabled moments later by Batman and Nightwing. Red Hood flips the chopper intending to dump it on the crowd below but Batman and Nightwing are able to stop the chopper from falling. They chase Red Hood to a trainstation only to find a bomb left by him as a distraction. Red Hood reveals himself once more on a motorcycle and calls out to Batman yelling "You haven't lost your touch..." with the rest of the message cut off by the noise of a speeding train.
Back in the the Batcave Batman and Nightwing are going over the video footage that was captured by Batmans mask camera. They both come to the conclusion that whoever this person is they have been very well trained as he knows most of if not all of Batmans tricks. Batman sends Nightwing home and tells him to rest up from the injuries he sustained during their confrontation with Red Hood. He then turns back to the computer and begins analysing the video of Red Hood saying "You haven't lost your touch...". After cleaning up the audio the full message is revealed to be "You haven't lost your touch Bruce!" revealing that Red Hood knows Batmans secret identify. He stands up from the computer and walks over to Jason Todds Robin uniform and begins to think about Robin when he was
younger. We see a few flashbacks of Robin as a child taking down The Riddler and as a teen taking down some drug dealers. However during his teenage years it appears that this Robin was far more violent then Batman would like as he reprimands him for shattering a drug dealers collarbone. Robin shrugs it off claiming that "he deserved it anyway".
We are back at Black Masks headquarters with him telling his crew that he wants this Red Hood guy dead at any cost. Black Mask stages an event with the intention of luring out Red Hood in order to kill him. Black Mask sends some of his men to one of Red Hoods night clubs and has them kill all the
men inside. Later in an alley two thugs have one of the mob leaders that Red Hood persuaded to join him earlier. They intend to send Red Hood a message by burning him alive but just before they get the chance to light him up Hood shows up to stop them. He is then confronted by a set of 4 assassins sent by Black Mask to kill Red Hood. The 4 assassins duke it out with Hood and appear to gain the upper hand until Batman arrives. Batman and Red Hood quickly disable the assassins but one of them grabs Hood from behind and threatens to kill him. Batman distracts the assassin with a taser long enough for Hood to pull out a taser of his own and use it to kill the assassin. Red Hood tells him that he should be glad that he only killed one of them. He says that he is doing what he always wanted only he is doing it better by controlling the crime. Batman offers to help him but Red Hood tells him it is too late and that he had his chance already. Hood throws down a smoke grenade and disappears into the darkness.
To confirm his own suspicions Batman takes a sword that belonged to one of the assassins. The sword had blood on it that he suspected belonged to Red Hood. He takes it back to the cave and the tests prove that Jason Todd and this new Red Hood are the same person. To confirm this he digs up the grave of Jason Todd but when he opens the casket he finds a perfectly preserved body. Red Hood attacks Black Mask leaving him with no other choice then to work with "a Mad Man". We see a group
of mercs sent by Black Mask to break The Joker out of Arkham Asylum. Black Mask and The Joker have a meeting in a small room with Joker still shackled. He offers to pay him a large amount of money if he can kill Red Hood. Joker asks for a glass of water which he then breaks on the edge of the table and then uses it to murder all the men in the room except Black Mask and Ms. Li. He agrees to kill Red Hood but he'll need some better guys and a truck.
Batman then goes to see Ra's Al Ghul to ask him how Jason Todd is still alive. Ra's reveals that it was him who hired The Joker but it was not his intent for him to get to Jason and kill him. To attempt to pay Batman back he attempts to ressurect him through the use of the Lazarus Pit. It works but being dead for so long causes him to go temporarily insane and he flees Ra's mansion. Batman leaves to go confront Jason and we pick things up with Jason, still wearing the Red Hood outfit, stopping The Joker from killing a truck filled with the very same gangsters that hired him in the first place. Joker dumps some gas into the truck and drops a lighter into the truck but Batman shows up in time to put the flames out before anyone is seriously hurt. Batman then picks Joker up using a tether on his jet along with Jason and drops them into the water. Batman searches for both of them but can't find a trace of them. Jason gets on Batmans radio and tells him to meet in crime alley if he wants Joker.
Jason takes Joker to an apartment in crime alley and begins torturing him the same way Joker tortured him. Batman confronts Jason in crime alley when Batman tells him that he knows what happened to him. Jason asks him if the Lazarus Pit is the reason he is the way he is or if what he's been doing is just the real him. He kicks his mask over to him and then detonates it. Jason forces Batman down and asks him if he is upset because his greatest failure has returned from the dead or because he has become a better Batman then he ever was. Batman tells him that ruling through intimidation and murder it makes him just another criminal. They have one final brutal fight in the
bathroom of the apartment that Jason was torturing Joker in. Batman tells him that he will never be better then him by doing the things he is doing and then throws him through a wall. Jason pulls a gun on Batman and asks him why out of all the criminals they've fought over the years why is the one who killed him still left alive. (Referring to The Joker)
Jason gives him on final ultumatium: Kill me or I kill The Joker. Batman refuses to choose and instead leaves but Jason takes a shot at Batman. Batman dodges the bullet and blocks the guns barrel with a batarang causing the gun to explode when he tries to fire again. Jason pulls out another detonator and a bomb in the room goes active with 20 seconds left on the timer. Batman immediately moves to disarm it but is stopped by Joker. Batman throws Joker off and grabs Jason to try and save him from suffering the same fate twice. The bomb explodes leaving only The Joker and Batman still alive. We see Batman mourning Jasons death but then he tells Alfred that this changes nothing. Batman gets into his car and goes out on patrol. We see one final flashback of Batman waiting for a young Jason to finish suiting up. The two exhibiting an almost father and son kind of behavior. Batman asks him how the suit feels and Jason exclaims "THIS FEELS AWESOME!". The movie ends with a shot of Jason smiling as a child.
Early reviews for the movie have been favorable. Website "TheWorldsfinest.com" reviewed it and said "I have to admit this is a damn good film." Ign also reviewed it and gave it an 8 out of 10. It's IMDB User Rating is 7.8 /10.