Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials begins as the last film does. In fact, I had to make sure I had not made a mistake and put in the first film, by accident. After a quick opening, the film sets its own course and as it turns out I liked The Scorch Trials better than its predecessor. The first Maze Runner was a decent attempt to start a new franchise since Harry Potter and The Hunger Games were both coming to an end. The Maze Runner is not in their league, but it is not without merit. The biggest problem I had with the first film was that it was very heavy on exposition and left very little to the imagination for the viewers. What was left was an effects laden creature feature. I had seen worse, but I had seen better.
This go around features our band of young adults as the last film ended. On a chopper being taken to a safe haven facility run by a shadowy gent named Janson. He tells our heroes that this is a sanctuary and can be the start of a new life. Thomas, the leader of the young adults, is immediately suspect that this place is not what it appears to be and that Janson is hiding something. Thomas convinces the group to escape into the Scorch (a vast desert wasteland that were once striving mega cities) where the film becomes an amalgamation of 28 Days Later. Escape From New York, Aliens and a sprinkle of Mad Max. All better films, but those are exceptionally well made so maybe the comparison might be unfair.
“The Scorch Trials” definitely tries to cut loose from its original reliance to explain everything, to a more action driven character study and most of the time it works. The cast returns and does well enough to sell the plot and I did get invested in these characters, more so than last time. It tends to drag on a little too long, but the visuals are good, the acting is sufficient especially with the introduction of a new character named Brenda played by Rosa Salazar. She is a seemingly good character who tries to help our band of heroes get to safety. Miss Salazar plays Brenda with a graceful toughness that I found very interesting. T.S. Nowlin’s script is literate and supports the action and enhances the characters to a point that kept my interest. Wes Ball’s direction keeps the film going at a quick pace and film score composer, John Paesano, returns to provide another exciting score as he did with the first Maze Runner.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is nothing that will stick with you, but every film has its own agenda, so to speak and this time around, I was able to sit back and enjoy this film, more so than the original. Is it going to win any awards? No. Is it ground breaking? No. What it is, is a fun young adult film that is still finding its footing in the young adult film world. With the ending of both Harry Potter and The Hunger Games franchises, the Maze Runner franchise could fill the void left by those exiting film series. There are at least two more films planned so with any luck these will continue to get better. As this one goes, there is a little something for everyone.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials- *** out of 5
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials- Rated PG13 for violence and language
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials- Run Time is 132 minutes
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials- Currently on Dvd and On Demand