The Gladers return for another harrowing experience. The first Maze Runner opened up with an amnesiac Thomas waking in an elevator, which is shortly relived in the sequel, and being thrust into an enclosed glade completely disrupting the other Gladers lives. Outside their safe walls is a mysterious and deadly maze as their sole means of escape. They thought that it was all over when they escaped the maze, but they couldn't have been more wrong, heck they should have stayed in the maze. What awaits them on the outside is far worse than the Grievers in the maze picking off the unlucky few. Out of the frying pan, and into the scorch, Thomas and crew head for the next chapter in the Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.
The film picks up where the second one ended. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), and his companions Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Winston (Alexander Flores), and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), get a brief glimpse of the wasteland that the Earth has become. It's full of crumbling cities, and weird, fast, tree like zombies. Their saviors take them to a compound away from WCKD (World Catastrophe Killzone Department), the mysterious organization responsible for putting them in the maze in the first place, and introduce them to a whole new group of kids who were in the many mazes that WCKD had as a part of their experiments. Occasionally the kids are chosen to go to their new forever home, which is kinda vague, but the place is being run by Game of Throne's Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) which just screams shady. Seriously, did anyone buy his act for a moment?
All the great character development and story narrative that was so key in the first one is set aside for action, lots and lots of running, almost too much running. Luckily the characters were so well developed in the first installment, there's almost no need to revisit this in the first half of the film. Those that have seen the first know the characters and circumstances well enough that the refresher course isn't needed.
The second half of the film is where things get interesting. It was as if director Wes Ball thought, that there wasn't enough craziness going on, and decided to ratchet things up a notch. The Grievers provided a few jumpy moments in the Maze Runner, but the mutant tree zombies are far more terrifying. Our group of heroes meet others in the Scorch, some with fewer marbles and morals than others, and the story line not only gets an injection of fun but some great actors when Alan Tudyk, Giancarlo Esposito and Lili Taylor show up.
As the final act comes to a roaring close with betrayals, revelations, and deaths, it perfectly sets up the next film in the series. The Scorch Trials isn’t a particularly good movie, but it’s fast enough and crazy enough to keep you entertained. If you liked the first one, you'll love its sequel.
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