Early Reviews of 'The Hunger Games' Are Strong As Katniss Herself

[caption id="attachment_92980" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Lionsgate"]Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth in "The Hunger Games"[/caption]

The Capitol has officially lifted its embargo and early reviews of "The Hunger Games" are flooding through Panem onto the web.

With a 100% fresh rating (so far) on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics seem to be just as taken with The Girl on Fire as we anticipated.

Variety's Justin Chang writes about the film, "Proficient, involving, ever faithful to its source and centered around Jennifer Lawrence's impressive star turn, this much-anticipated, nearly 2 1/2-hour event picture should satiate fans, entertain the uninitiated and take an early lead among the year's top-grossing films."

And that's just the beginning.

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy has a heap of praise to offer for Jennifer Lawrence's work as the pivotal Katniss Everdeen in the film, saying "At the center of things most of the time, Lawrence remains compelling all the way. As in 'Winter's Bone,' she's onscreen alone, or nearly so, a great deal, and she holds one's attention unselfconsciously, without asking for attention or even doing much other than the task at hand. Lawrence is one of those performers the camera loves ... she can convey a lot by doing little. An ideal screen actress."

ScreenDaily echoes this praise for Lawrence, noting that she "shows real grit" and "makes it apparent why the filmmakers would choose her for the part. Making Katniss tough but sympathetic, Lawrence creates an emotional rooting interest from the start."

The Guardian calls "The Hunger Games" "that rarest of beasts: a Hollywood action blockbuster that is smart, taut and knotty," and The Telegraph notes, "Gary Ross's provocative, pulse-surgingly tense adaptation couldn't feel fresher, or timelier."

Total  Film adds, "like its source, this is both credible science fiction and a teen tale that doesn't patronise or pander to its audience."

Needless to say, things are looking good for "The Hunger Games." Of course, the most important reviews - those of Suzanne Collins' millions of faithful fans - are yet to come. Still, these are some impressive marks from Hollywood's own brand of gamemakers.

"The Hunger Games" hits theaters next Friday, March 23, and if tracking is any indication, "The world will be watching."

Check Out All 'The Hunger Games' Photos So Far