“Maze Runner” sequel falls flat



Dylan O’Brien stars in “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.” (Twentieth Century Fox)


I recommend you watch “Maze Runner” if you want to understand “Scorch Trials,” as it picks up immediately after the cliffhanger ending of the previous film.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends escape from the maze but are taken by mysterious armed forces to ‘supposed’ safety and are driven deeper into the mystery of the apocalyptic world around them. Co-starring Aiden Gillen, Alan Tudyk, Giancarlo Esposito and Patricia Clarkson, “Scorch Trials” ramps up the action in this sequel but drops character development and plot.

If you enjoyed the characters you met in the first movie, they are still the same and stay that way throughout the entire film. While your opinions of some characters, both old and new, may change, the majority of the cast never gains any depth in terms of character development. More questions are raised about the world of the story and even fewer are answered.

The first third of “Scorch Trials” is entertaining, and keeps up the mystery and momentum carried over from the first film. But the momentum runs out, and the film devolves into a typical dystopian storyline with more extended, drawn-out chase scenes. By “typical dystopian storyline” I mean teenagers leading a rebellion against the tyrannical corporation.

Trope after trope is utilized as the film progresses. Tropes are not automatically a bad thing. They are familiar and easy to go with; when writing out a plot they are, at times, hard to avoid. But when they are as thinly written as they are in this movie, they are harder to stomach and make for a boring, predictable film.

Action is stuffed into the film to make up for the thin plot. Sure, it looks cool on the big screen, but it’s not as effective when there’s no meaning behind it. There is so much wasted potential to make a commentary about society, or to at least say something intelligent, but it all adds up to empty words and pointless action.

“Scorch Trials” still connects to the first movie, in terms of continuing the plot, using the same characters and taking place in the same world. However, nothing is added to the solid plot development and mystery that made the first movie watchable at the very least.