After Thomas and the other ‘Gladers’ have survived the Maze and its dangers, they are taken to a gigantic complex with other boys and girls. Every now and then a number of teens is selected to move to a ‘better environment’. After the hostile Maze, everyone thinks they are save, but Thomas distrust the whole situation. With help of the boy Aris he finds out they are housed at the mysterious organisation WCKD, who is into some strange business. Thomas and the other familiar character decide to escape. Their quest to safety and answers leads to a grueling journey through the Scorch, a desert with the remains of the city of New York, and other strange figures.
The Scorch Trials is the second part in The Maze Runner franchise and adaptation of the novel written by James Dashner. Returning to the sequel is director Wes Ball, who has once again delivered an action-packed sci-fi film, and the complete cast. Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden and Alexander Flores are back in their respectively roles of Thomas, Minho, Teresa, Newt, Frypan and Winston. Unfortunately, the characters are quite flat and there aren’t any character developments. This is party because the main character Thomas, gets too much screen time compared to the others. Teresa might cause a stir which means an unexpected turn of events, the other members of the original group have little to no input. Luckily, the group is joined by new faces very quickly. A boy in the complex who asks Thomas for his help, is called Aris and is played by Jacob Lofland. Of all people, Aris is there the longest and shares his concerns with Thomas. After their escape the group meet Brenda (Rosa Salazar), Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and a group of resistance fighters. Brenda and Jorge could have been interesting characters if they got more screen time.
On the mysterious and questionable side, we meet Janson. He is the one who has the control over the complex and is into some strange affairs. During the first thirty minutes it gets explored what Janson is doing and from that moment it is the group’s priority to escape from Janson. Janson is played by the man who many of us know by the name Peter ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish, the insidious character from tv-series Game of Thrones. In other words Aiden Gillen. With this information, Gillen is perfect for the part of Janson. From the moment we meet him, it’s clear Janson is up to something and is definitely not someone you can trust!
However, after Thomas and his friends escape we only see Janson from a helicopter screaming orders. It was better and more interesting if this character was more deepened. He looks like a simple follower with no own ideas or opinion and leadership. His big boss is Patricia Clarkson’s character Ava Paire, the doctor who did or did not die in the previous film. Paige certainly is an interesting character and has the answers to many questions, unfortunately we see too little of her and if she does enters the picture she is not of great value.
The storyline is less strong, and the mystery is also significantly less. Like I mentioned before, the first thirty minutes of the film is the only moment when some questions are answered. The kids in the complex are used for the greater good: extract blood to create a cure and defeat the zombie-virus. However, it is wise to watch The Maze Runner before The Scorch Trials. The mysteries of that film which got answered, are not talked about again, which makes it sometimes vague. All though this only counts for the beginning, since there is not much too guess in this film and there is few new information.
After the escape we mainly see the characters run and stay out of Janson’s hands. The Scorch looks amazing, you can even see the remains of the Brooklyn Bridge and their first shelter resembles an old and dilapidated warehouse. The trip through the desert is besides an upcoming thunderstorm, less intimidating. The best aspect of the film is the action. The visual effects are amazing and the Cranks, zombies, look pretty scary. There even are a couple of jump scare moments. Moreover, the pace of the film is just like its predecessor quite high. Therefore, the film makes you sit on the edge of your seat and is never boring.
To conclude, the second part in The Maze Runner series is very entertaining. The pace of The Scorch Trails is high and therefore the film gets never boring nor will you lose interest. The action scenes are well made and the special effects make the action look even better and more impressive. Unfortunately, these are the film’s best assets. The storyline is weaker and the mystery, which was so strong in the first part, is pretty mediocre. There’s not much to guess and the film is a lot about running for Janson and the organisation WCKD. Dylan O’Brien’s character carries the film and he makes a good impression. However, he gets so much screen time which draws the attention of the other characters, old and new, who are therefore less interesting. The third and final installment, The Maze Runner: The Death Cure, appears in theaters February 2017.