Movie Review: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

Synopsis: Shortly after escaping the maze, Thomas and the other surviving Gladers are rescued by a man calling himself Mr. Janson. They are promised a safe haven. However, a suspicious Thomas discovers Mr. Janson actually works for WCKD and he, the other Gladers and everyone else "rescued" by Mr. Janson will be sacrificed in an attempt to find a cure for the disease that has destroyed the planet. He and his friends escape but, in addition to avoiding WCKD forces, must find a way to survive the harsh elements outside.

Who's in it? The movie stars Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Aidan Gillen and Rosa Salazar.

Review: I liked the first Maze Runner movie but, for some reason, just never found the time to watch this sequel. My wife and I finally found a couple hours to do just that last night and, while I didn't hate it, I also found I didn't like it nearly as much as the first one.

As I mentioned, I didn't hate this film. In fact, there were quite a few edge-of-your-seat action scenes in it, especially whenever the Gladers (along with their new-found friends) had to escape WCKD forces or flee from virus-infected "Cranks." And, I have to admit, that scene involving them trying to escape a lightning storm was pretty cool, though I'm still not convinced the building they fled into would actually protect them from that.

My problem with this movie is it just seemed to lack the same magic the original movie had. The original film was likable because it had a somewhat unique plot and, at minimum, worked well because of the mystery surrounding the maze and why the group of boys (and one girl) were trapped in that glade. Heck, most of the characters couldn't remember much about their past lives other than their names, making the movie even more intriguing as a result.

This movie, in comparison, did not have an intriguing mystery. Everything that was happening to Thomas (O'Brien) and crew was either common knowledge or explained relatively quickly with the only "surprise" coming from Theresa (Scodelario) toward the end, setting up the next movie.

I also thought this movie lacked a lot of the originality the first film had. The earlier parts of the film, which involved Mr. Janson (Gillan) telling them they were being kept safe until they could be transported to a permanent refuge while, in reality, the survivors were actually being harvested of their blood, seemed very similar to the movie The Island. Then, after they escape, there were many parts of the film that reminded me too much of the Resident Evil movies.

Plus, let's face it, if you've seen one zombie movie (which this film effectively was), you've seen them all. The dystopian backstory is just filler.

Final Opinion: It's an OK film. But, the first movie was definitely the better of the two. I liked it enough to want to watch the third movie, just to see what happens next. However, my expectations aren't going to be as high as they might otherwise have been.

My Grade: C


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