Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the rest of the Gladers have escaped the maze only to find themselves in for the fight of their lives in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the second film in the Maze Runner trilogy. Director Wes Ball returns to helm this dark and intense sequel which pushes it’s stars, and audience, to the limits as we enter “The Scorch”, the remnants of a major city which has been desolated by it’s climate and is now inhabited by Cranks, a term used to describe those who have been infected by the Flare virus. If you thought the Maze was intense, wait til you experience Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.
The film picks up where the first film ends, with the Gladers being rescued and taken to a facility run by Mr. Janson (Aidan Gillen), a safe haven, protecting them from WICKED, or so they think. Thomas and the others quickly find out that they are only a cog in a very large wheel as they come to find out there are other survivors from multiple mazes. Curious as to the intentions of their new benefactor, Thomas decides that things are a little too perfect for his liking. Another survivor named Aris (Jacob Lofland) shows Thomas that he may just be right with his assumptions. WICKED’s leader Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) is still alive and she has a plan for all the remaining survivors. Thomas gathers the Gladers and they escape their capture into the Scorch.
After facing the harsh conditions of their new environment, the group head off to find the Right Arm, a resistance force hidden in the mountains who are supposed to protect the immune and take them to a safe haven. On the outskirts of the Scorch, Thomas and the group meet Brenda (Rosa Salazar) and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), who lead a dangerous band of survivors intent on finding favor with the Right Arm. As WICKED begins to close in on the Gladers, it’s up to Thomas to get them to safety, but will their destination be the safe haven they hope it to be?
James Dashner’s source material is dark and intense and Wes Ball does not shy away from taking this film and it’s core audience out of their comfort zone. The intense nature of the film is doubled by the presence of the Cranks, humans zombified by the Flare virus, who are as horrifying in their movement as they are in their appearance. The returning cast gets to experience a lot more than they did in the Maze as the climate and the sheer vastness of their environment is challenge enough without the added dangers of the chase. Dylan O’Brien continues to impress with his intense, emotional palette. Aidan Gillen is no stranger to toying with the audiences with his confidence and swagger and is a wonderful addition to this cast as the new protagonist. Rosa Salazar and Giancarlo Esposito fit in well with the returning cast who are very familiar with each other by this point in the story.
Overall, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is not for the weak at heart and definitely not for a young audience. The intense scenes will surprise an older audience and may help expand this franchise into newer viewership. This film is a lot of fun and a very enjoyable sequel. And now…we wait until 2017 for Maze Runner: The Death Cure.
3 1/2 out of 5
After Credit Scene?