The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is based on the 2020 novel of the same name, by Suzanne Collins, and serves as the prequel to The Hunger Games (2012). The movie follows the life of a young Coriolanus Snow on his journey to becoming the tyrannical leader of Panem.
The movie begins with the introduction of a young Coriolanus Snow as a star pupil in his class, where he is selected as one of the 24 Academy students to mentor a tribute in the 10th Annual Hunger Games. As a mentor, Snow is assigned the District 12 female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird.
As a result of a bombing that destroyed the arena, it allows Snow to scout it out, finding a spot for Lucy to hide during the games. Later, he tells her of this spot and also gives her a compact of rat poison, to be used as a weapon in the Games.
The Games have finally begun along with several tribute deaths, so Lucy finds the hole Snow told her about and hides in there for the night. As the games continue, Snow finds himself in the arena retrieving his friend, Sejanus Plinth, who went in to mourn his tribute, a former classmate, which leads to Snow having to kill a tribute that attacked him.
After getting cornered, Lucy poisons a water bottle and throws the rest of the poison at other tributes, killing a couple of people. Later, however, Dr. Gaul, the producer of the Games, releases modified snakes into the arena killing every tribute but Lucy, because of some quick thinking by Snow.
This allows Lucy Gray Baird to be the victor of the 10th Annual Hunger Games. However, Snow is confronted for cheating with the poison and tampering with the snakes, sentencing him to twenty years to serve in the military, as a peacekeeper. Snow is sent to District 12, where he finds Lucy Gray and Sejanus Plinth.
Sejanus becomes a rebel sympathizer. Snow overhears and records Sejanus’s plan to help the rebels and sends it to Gaul without Sejanus knowing. Sejanus is still helping the rebels which leads them into a sticky situation leading to Sejanus getting hanged for treason, while Lucy and Snow escape.
With their escape, Lucy realizes that Snow betrayed Sejanus, leading her to run away, setting a snake trap that later bites Snow. After the bite, Snow is disoriented and blindly shoots his rifle. Snow is unsure whether he hit Lucy, leaving the watcher speculating on her fate.
Snow then returns to the Capitol, being honorably discharged and enrolled in the Capitol University. Now, being in the University and his connection to Gaul, Snow is to be trained by Gaul to become a Gamemaker, beginning his rise to power.
For the most part, I enjoyed the film as it had exceptional action scenes and was visually appealing, filled with well-casted actors and actresses, especially the main characters. However, this feels like another unnecessary movie in a film series, where it is just to keep the series alive.
For all the Hunger Games fans, this movie is great with the themes of power and opportunities, the movie truly encapsulates the character of the tyrannical leader Coriolanus Snow. While this movie is technically being the 5th movie in The Hunger Games series, anyone can watch the movie without having to watch the first four.