I found that I engaged more with the characters this time around, from the shell-shocked Katniss, to brooding Gale (though I still wish Suzanne Collins would have built a bit more into their relationship), and even felt a little warmth towards the bubbly Effie. The grief of District 11 and Katniss's speech made me cy for poor Rue.
The President (Donald Sutherland) and Gamemaker (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) cruelly manipulate Katniss and Peeta to have to return to the arena to re-contest the Hunger Games with 20 previous champions. This creates a games of experienced players and more alliances and strategy are used this time around. Without releasing spoilers for new fans, I think the arena and the Gamemaker's strategies were portrayed very well.
The special effects were very good, from Katniss's 2 costumes, to the smoke, the monkeys, the dome, I bought into it all and enjoyed the ride.
It did end abruptly, but overall, in my opinion, was a good adaption of the Catching Fire novel and I look forward to the next one (fingers crossed they'll change the ending).