The second film in the Maze Runner Trilogy, Maze Runner The Scorch Trials, arrives onto our screens this week but is it just another young adult film adaptation that tries to hard or does it have some power behind it to actually complete the planned trilogy?
In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.
DIRECTOR: Wes Ball
SCREENPLAY BY: T.S. Nowlin
BASED UPON THE NOVEL “THE SCORCH TRIALS” BY: James Dashner
CAST: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, and Patricia Clarkson
When The Maze Runner came out in 2014 I was not that interested in seeing it mainly because I had been let down by a few YA adaptions recently and did not want to invest my time in another. Well I was wrong, big time, as I loved The Maze Runner and kicked myself for not seeing it at the cinema. Now the sequel arrives Maze Runner The Scorch Trials.
OK two things first for this film. One watch the last 15 minutes of the first film as you will need a recap for certain things and people. Second this film does not follow the book, well it does but they have changed the narrative and plot so please just take this film on its own merits as a sequel to the first film and not the first book.
Ok now that is out of the way let us begin.
The film starts off about 5 minutes after the first film without any recap and it starts with a bang and more running. In fact this film does not stop running. The times in the film where the characters are not running seem slow and you cannot wait for the next chase, escape or just running scene and this is a very good thing because my heart was getting a great workout watching this film.
I loved watching this movie and it is made for popcorn viewing on the big screen. It is a epic story but told in a centralised small way. The runners from the first team are welcomed to a sanctuary where they find other runners from other mazes but it soon becomes clear that things may not be as safe it seems. Once again our team find themselves running for the lives out into the wasteland that is the Scorch. It is here the film is really set. They encounter zombie like creatures called Cranks that are infected with the Flare, the virus that has been wiping out humanity. On their journey they meet lots of different groups or gangs, some friendly and some not so. All the while they are being chased by people who want them dead but not for the reason you may think.
The pace of this film is relentless and lives up to the running in the title. The team run from one death trap to another but these can be overlooked as it is about the journey in this case not the destination. That will be for the third film to accomplish. This really is a great second act of the story, it is the Empire, the Two Towers of the Maze Runner films. It has great build up but never drops the ball. Right up until the last scene you feel that you were given a treat here and cannot wait to finish it with part three, The Death Cure.
Returning director Wes Ball has kept it simple in terms of cinematography and brilliant use of effects both real and CGI. Some of the editing was a bit off which leads me to think there was quite a bit cut out of the film which may have been some exposition but probably felt to slow the film down.
The music, by John Paesano (Daredevil TV, Maze Runner), supported the film well with some big bombastic set pieces. He brings some familiar themes from the first film yet doubles the jeopardy by clever use of crescendos.
All the surviving cast from the first film return and slip straight back into their roles. O’Brien is still a likeable lead and proves that he has the acting chops for leading man material. Kaya Scodelario seemed a bit wasted in this movie but that could be a build-up of things to come in part three. Giancarlo Esposito joins the cast in a mixed role that just could not decide what it was supposed to be. Good, evil, confused, happy or sad. I like Esposito but I have seen better from him. Aidan Gillen is on top creepy form as always when he does these roles.
This film is a 12A but I want to warn you that the scares in the first film are nothing compared to this one. The trailers do not show you just how scary this film is. In some scenes it was right out of a zombie film and there are some jumps that will quite literally make you jump out of your seat. My personal opinion on this is DO NOT TAKE under 12’s to this film as they may have some restless nights. As for over 12’s well they love Zombies or Cranks as they are known here.
Overall Maze Runner The Scorch Trials was great popcorn fun and a perfect example of what a teen action movie should be and will leave you wanting more RIGHT NOW!