Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
New Maze Runner film suffers from "second-in-a-trilogy” syndrome, lacking in both originality and character development
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials seems to suffer from “second-in-a-trilogy” syndrome. While this sequel is jam-packed with action sequences, it lacks in originality and plot, making is feel like a mere set-up for the final film. The first film managed to steal elements of Lord if the Flies to create an almost believable community of teenage boys faced with a seemingly impossible obstacle, a giant and deadly maze that stands between the boys and their freedom.
Despite the title Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, there is not a maze to be found in this sequel. By removing the maze and replacing it with an evil scientific organization, a sun-scorched and dying earth, and a disease that has left humanity over-run with flesh-eating zombies known as cranks, the Maze Runner franchise has lost it’s identity. The mystery and suspense that was so central to the first film as the characters attempted to solve an ever-changing and dangerous maze in order to escape a claustrophobic community and hopefully be reunited with their families, is gone for good. Without this identity, audiences may find this sequel confusing and un-grounded.
The latest Maze Runner film picks up where the previous film left off, Thomas (Dylan O’Brian) and his band of newly-escaped teenagers are been swept off in a helicopter to a secure fortress in a remote desert. But alas, their rescuers are not who they say they are and Thomas quickly discover the facility is merely a satellite of the scientific organization, WCKD, that put them in the maze in the first place. Naturally, he and his friends escape the facility and make their way across the desert in search of a band of rebels in the mountains, bent on destroying the WCKD.
Frustratingly, this new journey leaves many questions from the first film unanswered, namely the question of why putting children into a giant maze was supposed to benefit anyone in the first place. I’m banking on all of my unanswered questions being answered in the final film, which has not yet been split into two parts and is slated to arrive in 2017. Unfortunately, Scorch Trials doesn’t give me anything that would indicate any answers are coming in the future.
Dylan O’Brian once again carries the film but this time with the help of Rosa Salazar and Giancarlo Esposito, who join the cast as a pair of rebels trying to survive a zombie-riddled San Francisco. These new additions to the crew are a breath of fresh air from the all-too cliche teenage boys whose character development seems to have run its course after the first film. Unfortunately, his heart-felt performance is not enough to make up for the lack of understandable plot and character development.