mazerunnerThe first Maze Runner flick was a surprise to those who had never read the book and expected just another YA action film.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

PG-13  |  131 min  |  Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller 

**In theaters September 18th*

Synopsis: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.

Review: The first Maze Runner flick was a surprise to those who had never read the book and expected just another YA action film. The surprise came in the depth of characters, the graphic depiction of the Glade, and the intricate workings of the maze; all that paired with intense action and grand Sci-Fi moments. But what about now that they are out of the glade? In Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials can lightening be captured again in the post apocalyptic bottle?

This review, for the most part, is for those who have not read the books. You may go into this thinking that the trials are actually pre structured tests. But in actuality this is not a 2nd in a long list of obstacles. The Scorch is not meant to be gone into but Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), and others do just that in order to try and find more answers to their past and WCKD, the company that has been exploiting them. 

The action in this one takes a little while to get in gear but the dramatic elements are intriguing. We get a tad more backstory and a refresher into the characters. That doesn't mean it is boring or mundane. The curiosity is as much for the audience as for the Gladers when it comes to this new facility they find themselves in. Like the first movie the effects and set design are fabulous. The world created is as barren and scorched as the title. The maze is replaced with a labyrinth of tunnels and burned out buildings. Also more characters are introduced which add to the plot. 

Readers of the books may already know what is coming but even they will be impressed with how the written word is fleshed out and designed in this one. Newcomers get to experience the surprises that wait around each corner. Without giving too much away it should be known that the enemy lingering in the scorch are an intense and frightening addition to this second flick. They are fast, vicious, and possibly a little recognizable to fans of certain genres. 

When it comes to second films in a franchise often they are filled with more set up and plot development that straight ahead action. This one does have the much needed evolution of story but it also does not shy away from thrilling moments. WCKD plays a vital role in this one and it is clear that their agenda, whatever it might be, is not of a benefit for Thomas and friends. Patricia Clarkson returns as Ava Paige and is just as untrustworthy as you would expect. Then there is Janson (Aidan Gillen) who elevates the jerk factor to knew heights.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence and action, some thematic elements, substance use and language. This film, like the first one, is more appropriate for those 15 or 16 and up. The Gladers have been through a lot and do not mix words when it comes to adult language and thematic dialogue. Also the creatures the encounter in the scorch will be too intense for younger peeps. I give it 4 out of 5 close calls. It is a solid follow up to the first film and doesn't phone anything in. 

Review - Matt Mungle - @themungle

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