‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ is on fire


Scorch Trials ComicCon / CC BY-SA 2.0

The cast of “The Scorch Trials” promotes the film at ComicCon.

Jason Zheng, Staff Writer

“The Scorch Trials” is the second movie of James Dashner’s popular “Maze Runner” trilogy. Despite being the middle of the trilogy, it is surprisingly better than the first movie, “The Maze Runner.” It has a more interesting plot and more action sequences.

After their successful escape from the maze at the end of the first movie, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow companions are rescued by staff members of a facility that seems to be a safe haven for survivors of other mazes. After Thomas discovers that the facility is hiding a dark secret, he and his friends escape into the outside world and search for safety, with WCKD in hot pursuit.

Unlike the first movie, where the action unfolded within the maze, “The Scorch Trials” has more diverse settings. The main characters are now in the outside world, which is primarily a post-apocalyptic desert. This desert, known as the Scorch, is littered with the remains of many dilapidated buildings, destroyed by some mysterious force.

“The Scorch Trials” introduces new characters, both friend and foe alike, alongside familiar maze runners like Thomas, Newt (Thomas Sangster), and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). One interesting new character is Brenda (Rosa Salazar), a member of a group of survivors who tries to help the maze runners to find the safe heaven. Brenda seems to be another love interest for Thomas.

In terms of foes, WCKD reveals more of its members. We are introduced to Mr. Janson (Aidan Gillen), a seemingly nice guy who is the second-in-command for WCKD’s leader Dr. Paige (Patricia Clarkson). Janson is a surprisingly competent and creepy antagonist, and even bears traces of Gillen’s other role as Littlefinger from “Game of Thrones.” But WCKD’s creepiness pales in comparison to the Cranks, infected victims of the Flare virus. Unlike the Grievers from the last movie, which were very ineffective despite appearances, the Cranks are terrifying, with their mere presence guaranteed to spook the audience.

Despite the impressive visuals, the terrifying nature of the Cranks, and the diverse cast, “The Scorch Trials” suffers from poor character development. There is a variety of key details on characters’ pasts, but overall, they still do not seem very convincing. None of the main characters are particularly memorable, and the relationship between Thomas and Teresa still seems forced and shoddy.

The movie is rated PG-13 due to swearing, violence, and the Cranks.

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