The Scorch Trials begins right from where Maze Runner ended, so to any who haven’t seen the first film I would highly recommend doing so before watching the second one. To those who have seen the first film and are expecting more explanations in the second, don’t get your hopes up. One of the bothersome things about this film is that, whilst it is thrilling and action-packed, we still don’t get much context as to why they were put in a maze in the first place.
Yes, we are told that there was an apocalyptic virus that spread across humanity and that the cure may lie in some of the children who are immune, however, the explanations stop there. You may be asking: but why a maze? Why a maze with strange fleshy-machine type monsters? Why a maze for so many years? Isn’t that just time-wasting and unnecessarily sacrificial? What were they actually being tested on? These and many more questions are, sadly, not answered in the second film.
The film involves a lot of running to dramatic music. This may be intense at first but after an hour or so you might want a film with a bit more substance than just a bunch of kids running from things. One good thing that has to be mentioned is Dylan O’Brien’s talented acting. He is fantastic in this film and presents Thomas, the main character, in a way that makes the audience really care about him and his wellbeing. If not for any other reason I would say O’Brien fans should watch this film just to get some more insight on this guy’s acting; he is going places.
A lot of the movie feels a little unoriginal: much of the film is very Walking Dead style, with virus-infected humans who seem to be seeking blood or flesh. It’s essentially not clear what they want but the point is they want to kill. This aspect of the film was actually done pretty well in the first half, with not too much CGI and a lot of tension and suspense in the scenes where we are first introduced to the zombies.
Yet in the second half of the film the pace slows down, and not in a positive way. We have a strange and poorly explained scenario involving a trippy club. We also get what looks like the beginnings of a love-triangle. That’s right, here we go again. Supposedly love-triangles are a main feature of YA books and films, but it might have been more original to focus less on this, or do without it entirely.
The film does get interesting again right at the end when we are faced with WCKD (yes the ‘bad-guys’ are pronounced ‘WICKED’; let’s just skip over that slight bit of cringe) and the upsetting re-capture of the children who had managed to escape. We are also faced with a surprising twist from one of the characters, which gives the film a little more edge. Lastly, we get given a heart-warming, if not cheesy, speech about friendship and courage (that sort of speech, y’know) from O’Brien’s character, which sets the scene for what the next film may bring.
All in all then, I’d say The Scorch Trials was a good film, but it has its flaws. There are still many unanswered questions and seemingly out-of-place scenes. However, the quality acting from others like Thomas Brodie-Sangster as well as O’Brien, and generally thrilling scenes make up for the confusion which will hopefully be cleared up in the third film.