Peter Travers on 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay': Epic Scope, Killer Suspense

Rolling Stone's movie critic praises 'Part 1' of the franchise's final chapter: 'It does a dystopian future better than anybody'

When it comes to major big-screen "happenings," Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers insists you can't beat The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. According to him, the sequel has all the necessary ingredients for a surefire blockbuster: killer suspense, epic scope and dazzling "firebrand" Jennifer Lawrence starring as Katniss Everdeen. "The Hunger Games, for some reason, does a dystopian future better than anybody," he gushes.

In his latest "At the Movies" video review, Travers praises every aspect of the film, including its surprising character development. By splitting Mockingjay into two parts, the critic says the filmmakers – director Francis Lawrence, newcomer screenwriters Peter Craig and Danny Strong – have been allowed appropriate screen time to flesh out the story, adding an emotional resonance to the eye-popping visuals. "You get to care about them a little more," Travers says. "There's some action, not as much as you're used to. But now there's character building."

This installment in the popular franchise doesn't feature any of its epic titular death fights. Instead, it focuses on a rebellion against Panem's President Snow (Donald Sutherland) led in part by Everdeen. "She's gonna be the one that we root for," Travers says of Lawrence's character, though he's equally enthused about the rest of the all-star cast – which also includes Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (in his final screen performance): "Every actor in this movie is great."

"People are predicting that it will beat Guardians of the Galaxy as the biggest box office movie of the year," Travers says. "And you know what? I'm all for it."