In what was potentially to be one of the most thrilling movies of the year, The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials did not disappoint. With so many dystopian-themed films being released, many films follow similar paths, but the Maze Runner series provides twists that change the course of the films, and did not resort to melodramatic action scenes, as many others have.
*cough* Insurgent *cough*
(I’ve never read the Maze Runner books, so my opinion is solely based off of the events of the films.)
After the events of the Maze, these poor kids are so lost and feel betrayed, especially after the events of escaping the Maze and the decimation of WCKD, though not really decimated, they are captured by a new force and led to believe they are free, but with one condition: they aren’t allowed to leave this new compound because of the scorch which destroyed the world, and those who were infected by The Flare, which turns them into zombie-like beings. After Thomas discovers that this new compound is really controlled by WCKD and they aren’t actually safe, he and his companions escape the compound and head out into the Scorch. Going on nothing but a few rumors, Thomas and his friends head out to find “The Right Arm”, a group dedicated to saving those that WCKD has captured and used for their “cure” against The Flare. Finding this group is nearly impossible for Thomas and his friends, later helped by newcomers Brenda and Jorge who help them find The Right Arm, often referred to as “ghosts” by WCKD and survivors of the Scorch. Though their time with The Right Arm is cut short by Theresa, whose memories were returned during their stay at the WCKD compound and truly believes that WCKD is good. She informed them of the location of The Right Arm’s base, leading to numerous deaths and the unfortunate capture of Minho, which sets Thomas and his friends on a mission to stop WCKD, once and for all.
Dylan O’Brien’s performance as Thomas is almost perfect, my only complaint resorts from his overdramatic running, which leads to a look as if he’s about to spasm and fall on the floor. He manages to capture the emotion of the moment, and play off his castmates well, especially Thomas Brody-Sangster (Newt) and Ki Hong Lee (Minho), who do equally as well in using their castmates for direction and emotion. Kaya Scodelario’s portrayal of Theresa is, in my opinion, much better in this film than in the first. Her betrayal of Thomas and his friends is one of the best acted moments of the film, with both O’Brien and Scodelario portraying the respective emotions of both of these conflicted teenagers. Newcomer Rose Salazar shines as Brenda, a survivor of the Scorch, that later is infected by The Flare after a crank bites her as she’s trying to help Thomas reunite with his friends.
Overall, the film was very well acted, and though the plot was a little light, which led to everything feeling a bit like a filler story to get all of the details of the post-apocalyptic world and WCKD shoved in, though it ended in a fantastic place for the next film to pick up off of. The Scorch Trials definitely topped the first film, which was a bit dissatisfying. The next and final film, The Maze Runner: The Death Cure, is scheduled for a February 2017 release, and will just be one film.
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