A whole lotta walking.

Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.

The next instalment of The Maze Runner young-adult book to film franchise is here, only this time the titular maze is absent, enhanced with the oddly worded Scorch Trials - of which there are also none - but regardless, welcome to Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.

Picking up exactly where the first Maze Runner film left off, our ‘Gladers’ having escaped the labyrinthine trap have come face-to-face with their captors - the not so subtlety named WCKD (pronounced wicked) - a health corporation who are seemingly using them as a cure for an affliction that has ravaged the world. With things looking dire, a band of masked men suddenly storm the facility, rescuing the group and killing the WCKD employees that remain.

Unfortunately not all is as it seems, with the whole thing being orchestrated by the seedy aforementioned group in order to further put the bunch of kids through even more torment. On their way by helicopter - and armed guards - to a brand new facility, the Gladers - now believing they have been saved - are quickly ushered in whilst a tense fire-fight ensues outside, between the guards and what seem’s to be the infected zombie-like denizens - referred to as ‘cranks’ - of this dystopian world.

Inside, after being put through a quick orientation and introduced to the leader of this facility - a man named Jansen (Aidan Gillen) - the group are integrated with a plethora of other kids, who like them have also escaped from their own WCKD created mazes. But the leader of our Gladers - and protagonist of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (and the series thus far) - Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) has his doubts about this new found utopia. With a multitude of tests being performed on them, their movement restricted by armed guards and kids being taken away each day to the promise of greener pastures.

Thomas’s doubts turn fruitful whilst employing the help of Aris (Jacob Lofland) a kid who has been at this facility for over a week; the two manage to sneak their way past security in the hope of uncovering the truth - that WCKD is still indeed behind it all - and then proceed to convince the others of their predicament. But with time not on their side the Gladers perform a haphazard breakout, with WCKD soldiers chasing them into the unknown world outside.

The best thing about 2014’s The Maze Runner film, was the uniqueness in its setting - mimicking a classic amnesiac sci-fi tale - that diffrentiated itself from its young-adult genre rivals. The mystery of the maze created a tone that unfortunately doesn’t carry over into Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials - which see’s the group mainly do plenty of walking. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is indeed a very different film to its predecessor, feeling far closer to every other young-adult book to film franchise out there (namely The Hunger Games and Divergent) so much so that you would expect them to exist within the same universe.

It’s a shame that whilst the budget grew, the spark the original managed to create has become lost and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials suffers due to it. Whilst visually competent and directed well by series stalwart Wes Ball with some hints at an intriguing story in there somewhere, it quickly resorts to a struggle between rebels and their nefarious overlords. This unfortunately is made worse by the lack of character development within this sequel.

Whilst admittedly not an avid reader of the books and being a year out from The Maze Runner predecessor, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials does little to nothing with the characters - giving you no reason to invest in their plight or the death of their comrades and ultimately sets you up for another film down the line, that also promises more of the same.

If you are a fan of The Maze Runner book series or the original incarnation last year, then you’ll likely already be planning to go see Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials regardless. Newcomers to the series will be rightly confused by the plot with the film offering no catch-up on the past events.

Whilst Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is lacking the spirit of the film that spawned it, moviegoers may enjoy the dystopian world sprinkled with a few jump scares along the way.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is currently available to buy on Blu-ray & DVD or on-demand via Amazon Video.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    13th September 2015

  • 3 Out of 5 Stars
  • Step down from predecessor

    Lacks character development

  • Well directed

    Few nice jump scares

Film Info

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Rating: 12A
Release Date: 10th September
Runtime: 2 hr 1 mins
Director: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito & Aidan Gillen

  • The Maze Runner
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • Insurgent

No, there are quite a few jump scares along with scenes of death, gunfire and torture.

The film is based upon a series of novels by James Dashner with the third and next movie titled The Death Cure.

The Maze Runner author James Dashner also created another series of novels titled The 13th Reality.