The reviews are out for the upcoming prequel film “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” and the verdict is solid, but the weakest of the franchise to date.

With 41 reviews counted, the film sits at 66% (6.6/10) on Rotten Tomatoes with numerous reviews dubbing it effectively ‘leftovers’.

The franchise peaked with the first movie (84%) and the very well regarded second film “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (90%), but dropped a little with the two “Mockingjay” films (70% each).

Here’s a sampling of review quotes:

“Feels like a natural extension of the saga, balancing bloodsport, endangered young love and a heightened level of political commentary that respects the intelligence of young audiences as only Collins can.” – Peter DeBruge, Variety

“Whether “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is enough to relight those embers remains to be seen, but it is a reminder how good a platform they offered young actors. It’s a ritual worth returning to.” – Jake Coyle, AP

“Better than it ought to be, yet still significantly short of greatness, it might have made a superior start to a saga if we didn’t already have the finish.” – Luke Thompson, SHH

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is long, which means that it sometimes lags, but its cast and the well-crafted visuals keep it as entertaining as possible.” – Emily Zemler, Observer

“Rachel Zegler is a scene stealer in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes but the third act completely derails the film and feels like a rushed ending to a different movie.” – Daniel Baptista, The Movie Podcast

“If only there were something truly new and innovative about this chapter to fully justify resurrecting the Hunger Games franchise” – David Rooney, THR

“This rote affair would deserve the designation “for fans only,” if not for the sneaking suspicion that even they won’t be wowed by this return trip to Panem.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“All the elements that made the Hunger Games a success are there – the dark political metaphors, the horrifying dystopian premise, the beautiful actors who make the whole bitter pill easier to swallow – but Songbirds and Snakes feels simply like a rehash.” – Hoai-Tran Bui

The Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth-led “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” is set to open in cinemas on November 17th.

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