“The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is currently in theaters and is the sequel to the 2014 film “The Maze Runner.” The third and final film of the series, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure”, is set to release in early 2017. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an average rating of 5.4/10, but we all know how harsh the website reviewer can be. The sequel, which received a mix of positive and negative reviews, dominated the box office opening weekend, bringing in $108 million worldwide, according to Entertainment Tonight.
At the end of “Maze Runner”, the group of teens find out that the whole time they were stuck in the Glade (the maze); they were being set up and controlled by a group called the Creators. The whole process was an experiment, and in the sequel, it continues as one. The teens, led by their unofficial leader Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), are introduced to Mr. Janson. Aiden Gillen plays Janson, who fans of “Game of Thrones” would recognize as “Littlefinger.” He tells them they are safe from all the harm in the Glade, but that doesn’t stop Thomas from being suspicious about what they are really about. Without revealing too much of the plot, the group escapes to the Scorch, the deserted outside world.
While in search of The Right Arm, a few more key characters are added to the lineup. Patricia Clarkson plays Ava Paige, WCKD’s leader. Rosa Salazar plays Brenda and Giancarlo plays Esposito, who together, lead rogue survivors in the Scorch who use Cranks (people infected by the Flare virus) as their own personal protection. The people infected by the Flare pretty much become zombies. Brenda and Giancarlo join the group in search of The Right Arm, an organization against WCKD.
The movie has a lot of action, even more than the first one. There were also a lot of dramatic scenes. The ends of most dialogue phrases are dragged out to add suspense and make it seem that whatever the person is saying is way more important than it really is. It’s not that the film is cheesy, but some parts are too emphasized. The movie cannot be compared to the book because apparently, they are the complete opposite. It seems that the director took this film where he wanted to and didn’t really comply with the author, James Dashner. As a film on its own, it’s pretty entertaining. If you enjoyed the first film, you will surely appreciate this one.
I love Dylan O’Brien on “Teen Wolf” as Stiles. I think his character is funny, charming and the biggest klutz on the planet. I didn’t realize that the character may be close to his true self until I saw him in “The First Time.” O’Brien’s role in the film has very similar characteristics to Stiles. Now, for his part as Thomas in the Maze Runner series, O’Brien lets himself shine through the role, drawing many similarities with his current and previous roles. I’m not saying that this is fully a bad thing, but is O’Brien really showing his acting potential if his résumé of characters could all be the same person?
It felt like something was missing from the first film, as well as this one: character development. If the movie production team had decided to change the plot of the films, fine, but at least evolve the characters from what they are at face value. How can viewers care about the characters and who will survive if we can’t even relate or sympathize with them? Hopefully the third film will help us to care more about Thomas and his friends.
If you are a diehard fan of the Maze Runner books, you will probably not like this film, especially if you didn’t like the first one. If you only know the story from the movies, then this film is enjoyable and one can appreciate the action and unique sets. If you just want to see Dylan O’Brien onscreen for 132 minutes, then this movie is definitely for you. As someone who likes O’Brien, watched the first film and did not read the books, it was alright. Truthfully, I am getting sick of the dystopia movie plot line. The Hunger Games has been my final calling for a futuristic destruction of our society and teens saving the planet. “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” receives a 3.5/5 rating on my scale.