In this next installment of the acclaimed Maze Runner series, based on the books by James Dashner, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers are faced with their greatest task yet. They’re out looking for clues or signs about the obscure and the all-powerful organization known as WCKD (Wicked). Their quest takes them to the Scorch, a barren wasteland filled with unfathomable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s mightily superior forces and uncover its inhuman plans for them all.
The first movie caught me by surprise. I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was so I knew when they said they were making the second one, I had to watch it and buy the books as well. I was pleased with the first movie due to its stunning visuals but it was confined to one space whilst this movie expands the Maze Runner universe to The Scorch in Scorch Trials. Thomas and his comrades are in pursuit for clues about the perilous and wicked organization that held them hostage in the last movie. Their journey takes them to “The Scorch,” a grim landscape filled with new adversaries and obstacles. The biggest of these threats are “Cranks”. They are more or less zombies which can run. If you’ve watched World War Z, you can relate. They make the walkers in AMC’s The Walking Dead look like puppy dogs. With whispers of a resistance movement massing in the mountains,Thomas and company decide to make their way there, to see what WCKD have in mind for them.
This is certainly a sequel. It doesn’t recap the events of its predecessor. It starts where The Maze Runner left off, and I definitely advise that you watch The Maze Runner before watching Scorch Trials otherwise you will be clueless. Maze Runner was confined to one location, The Glade. Scorch Trials incorporates many locations including: The Scorch, ruined cities, dynamic compounds, abandoned camps and the mountains. They have used their budget well considering the sheer amount of effects. The action scenes are engaging. No they weren’t in a maze. Mainly running from guards shooting at them, sand storms or sprinting zombies. Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf) comes into his own in this movie. His character, Thomas, becomes a leader that the rest of the group can look up. He’s not a child anymore, constantly asking questions. Rather than asking the questions, he is now answering the questions.
The movie also brings new characters into the fold. Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) crops up as a villain to begin with, but turns into more of a likeable anti-hero. He is accompanied by his adopted daughter Brenda (Rosa Salazar). Salazar (Insurgent) has some awesome scenes with O’Brien later in the movie. There’s also Alan Tudyk (Frozen), who makes a cameo appearance as a wasted club owner. Game Of Thrones’ Thomas Brodie Sangster (Jojen Reed) comes back as Newt. He’s really becoming a great actor. I remember seeing him in a Doctor Who two-parter titled “Human Nature” & “The Family Of Blood” a few years ago. Also, he was in “Love Actually” and “Nanny McPhee” as a child. I think his best performance is in BBC’s Wolf Hall as Rafe Sadler. The standout performance of the movie is Game Of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen. He looks evil in general. He has an evil face. You look at this guy and you always think he looks shady and is up to something. This movie is no different. He’s as evil as it gets. Much alike his character Petyr Baelish in HBO’s Game Of Thrones, Janson is deceptive and then he reveals his other agenda. A truly grand performance from Gillen.
With franchises like this, it’s easy to draw parallels with other uncanny franchises like Divergent and The Hunger Games. They all follow the themes of big brother and humanity’s fear of those who break the status quo. It’s the constant power struggles between the authorities and the people. Following the crowd is being a sheep. Being mindless and doing what everyone else is doing. These films show us that deviating from social norms isn’t bad. It shows that we can think for ourselves, if we so choose and that’s nothing to be afraid of.
All in all, I think it is a great movie. Certainly cinema-worthy, in 3D purely for the effects. I can’t wait for the next movie, Death Cure. I was impressed with the overall acting, effects and the continuation of the story. The ending left me annoyed because it ended on an epic cliffhanger and now I have to wait until 2017 for Death Cure.