Let’s address the elephant in the room. YA novel adaptations have been a fixture of movie making for years now and let’s be honest, it’s getting old. Don’t get me wrong, Katniss and Tris are cool in a bleak dystopia sort of way but how many ways can the future be awful? Which brings us to the sequel of last years moderate hit The Maze Runner. Be warned lovers of the James Dashner novels, broad liberties have been taken with the source material. Having said that, you could not ask for a more action packed thriller to close out the summer of 2015.
The action picks up shortly after the close of the first film, where we find our escapers of the maze rescued from the clutches of the “World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department”, better known as WICKED. Our protagonist Thomas (Dylan O’Brien); along with his friends from the Glade; Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) find themselves in a safe haven run by a charismatic leader, Janson (Aidan Gillen of Game of Thrones fame). They are amazed to find that they are not the only teenagers at the complex, all victims of similar maze experiences. The kids are promised a trip to free zone, far from the reach of WICKED. But when Teresa is separated from the group, Thomas feels something is amiss. A fellow “guest” of the barracks, Aris (Jacob Lofland) let’s Thomas in on a secret and the chase is on once again but this time instead of a maze it is the desolate landscape of the real world, called The Scorch, that sets the stage for the continued struggle against the forces of WICKED.
While I found the first film enjoyable in a cheese ball sort of sense, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is non-stop adrenaline from opening scene to closing credits. It brings together the utter claustrophobia of World War Z as our heroes flee from zombie-like people infected with the “Flare” and the high wire acts of the best of Mission: Impossible while delivering heart felt performances from our leads and new characters such as Jorge (Ultimate character actor, Giancarlo Esposito) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) with an immensely enjoyable turn by Barry Pepper as resistance leader Vince.
While the film might not have stayed true to the novel, I was pleasantly surprised that I actually found more thrill from the motion picture. The final chapter in our saga, Maze Runner: The Death Cure can’t come soon enough.
4 Cranks out of 5