Like any sequel, whether it be novel or film, there must be a discernible reason for its existence and a development to the world and characters that inhabit it. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials feels like a bad neither of things, but merely, a film built around the development of one plot point.
The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials continues the journey of Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Theresa (Kaya Scodelario), and the group of kids who escaped the maze; now they’re being hunted down by WCKD as a rampant virus ravages the scorched wasteland.
This film without a doubt has big consistency problems – characters seemingly move from mountains, to cities, to deserts in a flash; the film massively struggled to establish who is immune to the virus and who is not. All throughout characters in general had a constant state of uncertainty in their decisions and events were forced to happen for exposition purposes just as the first film. Not all is bad though, as we again get some neat twists and a few moments of intrigue from certain characters, but again, this film clenched onto many of the same issues that the first film had.
Dylan O’Brien again does a fine job as the basic hero, he has a bit of intensity in his performance and I honestly don’t feel comfortable faulting him considering he has some fairly bland material at times. Not much can be said for the other fairly standardized performances, I’ll say this, Rosa Salazar had trouble with line delivery.
Of the minor improvements that director Wes Ball has made, his visual cinematography sits on top – he has learnt some new tricks and manages to nicely blend real environments with CGI backdrops, one of the franchises most consistently impressive aspects. Visuals in general can get shaky, and while we are treated to some good parts and bad, the film ultimately stands in the middle range in terms of the visual to budget ratio.
The Maze Runner franchise is fine enough for a second watch, but not a third, perhaps if this series of films ends in a massively complex twist then I’ll have a greater respect for what it is trying to achieve, but as it stands it’s nothing to rave about. While not quite as fresh as the first film in the franchise, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials has enough heat to keep audiences partially interested in what could happen next.