Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Wes Ball's Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials furthers the young adult series in a positive direction, featuring bigger and better action with a widened scope, but the film's characters take a back seat to the grander story being told, leaving The Scorch Trials feeling not as fresh and exciting as the first film, but a worthwhile sequel none the less.
Wes Ball‘s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a worthwhile sequel to the surprisingly good The Maze Runner, continuing the young adult series with bigger action and a widened scope. The Scorch Trials definitely beefs up the action and feels a little more adventurous, but the film’s characters take a back seat as Ball attempts to broaden the story and expand the landscape for an eventual closing chapter film. Still, The Scorch Trials is different, exciting and adventure-filled.
The Maze trials have been completed and Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and friends have managed to successfully escape…or have they?
Now, the group faces even more evil as they’re thrown out into a post-apocalyptic wasteland known as the Scorch, facing off against zombie-like infected people known as Cranks, while also coming head-to-head with the dangers of the outside world and of course the evil corporation known as WCKD.
Director Wes Ball returns for Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, expanding upon the wildly exciting and entertaining The Maze Runner in a way that feels like natural sequel progression, which means bigger and better action and scope, but a weakened story and a sluggish third act that all but sets up for a third and final film.
The Scorch Trials is a good film, capitalizing on the surprisingly good deeds of the first film, while attempting to be something completely different and new. And Ball does this almost flawlessly, never simply retreating back to another maze or similar situation and instead pitting Thomas and his friends up against a whole new set of obstacles that test not only their friendship, but the strength of each and every one of them as a person.
I love that Ball successfully amps up the entire look and feel of The Scorch Trials. The Maze Runner felt like a small and captive film, blending together a young adult-friendly story of escape and survival with a mysterious sci-fi twist. It paid off a lot more than most were expecting it to and I still stand by my words when I said that The Maze Runner was everything that The Hunger Games should’ve been.
Now, The Scorch Trials comes bursting onto the cinematic landscape with a fresh setting, new characters and even more secrets to be revealed, only this time Ball and his team of writers struggle to keep up.
The film looks great and is shot with an adventurous eye that almost always impresses with its strong action sequences that are both startling and downright cool to look at and watch unfold, but the film’s anchored story starts to show signs of cracking as Thomas becomes a dull background character to the film’s grander story.
None of the new faces leave any sort of strong impact on the film, aside from a few highlighting performances sticking out, but still those are just good actors servicing boring and poorly written characters.
The core group of friends aren’t nearly as interesting as they were when they had to face off against weird robot creatures in a confusing maze.
Now, they face outside dangers like WCKD, infected humans known as Cranks and shady people that can’t be trusted — not to mention each other in one way or another.
And none of that is interesting, despite the film itself remaining a thrilling adventure that should surely capture the attention of anyone willing to pay the price of admission.
The Scorch Trials isn’t better than The Maze Runner, because it shows signs of weakness in its script and characters, but it does manage to become something different and new, which will please fans looking for the next chapter in the series.
I applaud director Wes Ball for stepping up the visuals and creating something that’s beautiful to look at and fun to watch, but at the same time his good graces can only go so far when the film’s script is broken on a fundamental level. Things just don’t add up and the film’s warts become more and more noticeable as things progress.
I’ll still promote this film to those looking for something different than the likes of The Hunger Games or Divergent and I’ll definitely show up for the third film whenever that may be, but The Scorch Trials fails to follow The Maze Runner in a straight line and instead zigzags that line of quality entertainment and brainless fun.