I wasn’t really all that impressed with the first Maze Runner movie but I believe that the franchise has the potential to really engage the YA market so I decided to give the second installment in the series a fair chance. It took a bit of time to kick off but the second movie in the franchise actually delivered on expectations, in my opinion.
After the surviving Gladers are rescued from WICKED, Thomas and his friends are taken to a facility where they discover that theirs was not the only Maze operated by WICKED. In the facility, they meet Janson (Aidan Gillen), the mysterious head of the facility, as well as Aris (Jacob Lofland), whom they find out belonged to the other maze. But things are not quite in the up and up at the facility and Thomas discovers that they are not quite as safe inside as they thought. Instead of waiting to become pawns in WICKED’s game once again, the Gladers devise a plan to escape and take their chances in finding a rebel group, The Right Arm to face the challenges of an Earth ravaged by the Scorch in order to put a stop to whatever horror WICKED has planned.
I must give credit to the filmmakers, firstly for changing up the story. While the core remained the same, how the story played out in the movie made much more sense and gave the characters much ore room to grow.
While it seemed at times that the approach was a composite of a sci fi and horror movie (think Prometheus meets The Walking Dead), the film managed to maximize the potential of its talented young cast by leaving only a few of them as survivors — Newt (Thomas Brodie Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Winston (Alexander Flores). The addition of Giancarlo Esposito as Jorge and Rosa Salazar as Brenda, who are two new key characters in the The Scorch Trials book, also served to add more excitement to the movie as it progressed because they were both just badass. I actually liked movie Brenda and Jorge ten times more than book version, so good job on character development and casting.
I liked that the film was able to balance out the suspense and establish its dystopian elements although it did not dwell too much on what caused the Scorch and why some were immune to the Flare virus as the book did. In a way, changing up the events in the book was a pretty good touch so even those who have already read The Scorch Trials will still be kept in suspense as I was when watching the movie. Unfortunately, there were no standout scenes or remarkable twists that would get the fans talking about this movie even after seeing it.
All in all, I thought that The Scorch Trials was a slow starter but once it got up and running, it more than made up for the lull in the beginning. Sure, at times, the speeches were sort of kind of cheesy but considering its target audience, it was tolerable. True, it wasn’t very original for its oversaturated genre, but it was entertaining enough to merit one’s attention for its 132 minute run.