The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trial

scorch trialsThe Scorch Trials is the second installment in The Maze Runner series. The story picks up with Thomas (played by Dylan O’Brien) and the other escapees from the Glade trying to find their way in a devastated world. They’re being chased by the organization WCKD that was behind the Maze so they’re unsure of who their allies are. On top of that, there are the infected who are keeping everyone on the run. Not knowing where to turn, the group make their way to a band of rebels they hear about who might be able to find them refuge.

The story in this one is a little more non-linear and disjointed compared to its predecessor. There’s some bait-and-switch left turns that seem pretty obvious and isn’t really anything super compelling in terms of the direction the film goes. I also thought some of the plot points were a little far-fetched such as the doctor who will sacrifice the lives of thousands of children to find a cure for the disease that is zombifying everyone. One of the stranger plot points is that a cure of sorts is found but kind of forgotten about when one of the key characters is killed. It just seemed like there were a lot of moments like that, almost shoe-horned ideas that were wedged in to move things forward.

The pacing and structure of the film seem clunky, like they were figuring out a lot as they went. Some of the performances seem stiff as a result of the construct of the film. Wes Ball directed the film, which I’m sure wasn’t easy given the scope of it, however the direction of the film is what I think one of the main problems is. Overall, this release feels stuck awkwardly in different places where the first film flowed much more smoothly.

The acting for the most part is ok but there aren’t any real standouts here. Everyone feels competent but not passionate. There are some strong actors in the lineup but noone seems to shine. The cast includes Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Patricia Clarkson, Lili Taylor, and Barry Pepper.

The Scorch Trials is an ok film but not the compelling second film you might be hoping for. Hopefully the next film will take it back up a notch…

reviewed by Sean McKnight