Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Burning Man

If you have read my review of the original Maze Runner and are now reading this then: 1. What are you doing? There are plenty of better writers out there and 2.You’ll know that I secretly enjoyed the film even though it wasn’t particularly good.

Scorch trials is much the same as the original although the themes are different and this latest entry into the series feels more mature and better produced.

In the first Maze Runner film it was interesting to see how a society starts from nothing with no previous reference point of how society works and what that looks like. I also enjoyed the scenes in the maze with the weird mechanic, oil spill, tentacle monster things – yeah them. Unfortunately that’s all gone.

What I didn’t like about the original was the half baked love interest, the rushed story and the terrible ending. Unfortunately some of this is still here.

Once again we are given very little construct around why they are their current situation and how this relates to the world in general. In the original that wasn’t  an issue because you could enjoy the mystery of the maze. Why is it there? Who runs it? Do they escape? In this film you know they have escaped but still don’t know what the wider world is about. This is fleshed out to some degree but really The Scorch Trials is an entertaining but a bit generic action adventure film where a greater emphasis on story would have been appreciated.

So what are these trials of scorch? I dunno, I’ve only seen the film, why ask me? As far as I can tell it’s just a wasteland that they walk through. I wouldn’t really say these are trials though as that suggests a set of structured and defined ordeals. Perhaps a better description would be The Maze Runner: The Shit Happens Edition.

The Scorch is one of the most visually pleasing areas of the landscape. Within which they stumble across hordes of cranks: infected humans who are now more like hyper aggressive zombies. These scenes are without doubt the most entertaining in the film as the pacing of the film really ramps up in these segments.

If you have ever played possible the best game ever made: The Last Of Us then the scorch is the nearest thing to this seminal game that I’ve seen depicted on film.

All throughout the trials and even in fact the whole film Thomas is pretty much the only character that counts. The other members of the old commune have been reduced to Thomas’s back up singers or a herd of geese. Every scene of danger has Thomas at the front, arms wide, telling everyone to stay behind him. That’s cute of him but there’s no need to be a dick about it. No-one likes an attention seeker.

It’s lucky then that Dylan O’Brien, who plays Thomas, is enigmatic and convincing as the lead character or this could have been a bigger problem. It’s not just O’Brien who plays his role well, like it’s predecessor all of the cast put in a surprisingly solid performance considering the type of film it is and none more so Rosa Salazar who plays newcomer Brenda.

Brenda plays a key role in helping find a rebel army who can help take on the face-palmingly named WCKD. The finale demonstrates the beginning of this fight with *cringe* wicked and is once again the worst part of the film. It’s so rushed and poorly thought out leaving the action bland, tame and unsatisfying. The whole film tries to be gritty and dramatic yet the ending feels more at home in a B-movie.

What you end up with is no maze, no trials, nothing particularly scorching or on fire but you do have fun teen action film that is better shot and on a bigger scale than the original film. It’s a decent enough film but is not something that you need to run out and see instantly.

Go See

  • Entertaining action adventure
  • Zombie mutants
  • Mostly well acted

Avoid

  • Thomas the one man army
  • Too little story
  • Another terrible ending

Overall

3-5-stars

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