As I was watching a pre-roll ad for Subway’s Catching Fire-branded Fiery Footlong Collection I remembered why I’d been nervously anticipating the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel since I first read it almost three years ago. The Hunger Games trilogy focuses on a dystopian land called Panem, where every year 24 adolescents are plucked from the population to take place in a televised death match called, yes, The Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is one of the group, and over the course of the battle finds herself (maybe) falling in love with fellow combatant Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson.

The sequel Catching Fire was by far my favorite book of the trilogy, and I had a lot at stake in its transition to the big screen: the first film just barely met my (high) expectations and I had seen my childhood favorite Ender’s Game ruined by filmic techno-gimmickry just a few weeks earlier. Mercifully, Catching Fire screenwriters Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt took their jobs as seriously as Mockingjay-adorned Katniss enthusiasts like myself wished they would.