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Review | Maze Runner – The Scorch Trials (2015)

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  • Directed by: Wes Ball
  • With: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
  • 131 Minutes
  • Português: flag-portugal

After an exciting first chapter that caught my curiosity and attention, I must say I had some considerable expectations regarding the upcomming adaptations of James Dashner’s novels from the Maze Runner trilogy. Even though it wasn’t a brilliant movie, the first chapter had a claustrophobic plot filled with mystery and tension that left too many questions to be answered. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials was therefore a great way of building up the story towards the final chapter of the trilogy while it answered some of the questions that were left in the air after Thomas and his friends being evacuated from the maze. However, despite answering some of the questions, the accelerated pace of the story didn’t complement that well the several details presented, thus becoming an obstacle to the movie’s success. As an adaptation that doesn’t strictly follows its source material, The Scorch Trials is somehow a drawback when compared with the first chapter and it left almost nothing to discover in the next installment.

After being rescued from the maze, both Thomas and his mates see themselves trapped in the middle of a devastating plan that forces them to escape from the hands ofWCKD once again. In this moment, out of nowhere, the movie becomes some sort of intense experience that fits perfectly in the suspense genre. We meet some of the infected by the the virus and a community of people that has managed to stay away from Ava Paige’s tyranny, lead by a man that like Thomas wants to find the army that’s been struggling against WCKD for a very long time, known as “The Right Arm”. The story develops through a huge walk towards a gigantic desert where infected people attack Thomas and his group and through obscure sets and paths that give this movie a whole different tone from the one that we saw in the first chapter. The issue about all this is that most of the original story’s logic and sense was lost due to an unnecessary risk that the producers took… While in the book, the title makes the whole sense since the group travels among the Scorch, defeating enemies and obstacles with the hope to find a cure to the virus, in the movie they escape from the hands of WCKD, after knowing that they’re immune with the purpose of joining the other army.

Compared with the first chapter, The Scorch Trials is an action-packed movie filled with really intense moments that ends up being quite an exciting an obscure experience, due to the brief moments where the adventure is replaced by suspense and the sunny sets replaced by dark paths. There’s not much to complain regarding technical aspects and, at least in visual ones, the movie is a lot better than the previous chapter, offering two hours of pure entertainment. The issue about this is that the build-up is not that good… Everything is told in a rushed way, which ended up leaving some minor questions in the middle and, as far as I’m concerned, most of the plot is occupied with action sequences. We’re invited to follow a huge journey throughout the desert and we meet several characters that, in the end, don’t matter that much to the story. Perhaps its exaggeration or the wish of building a new epic story that could fit in the dystopic genre ended up messing a bit The Scorch Trials, that ended up looking like a huge visual spectacle that only offers entertainment, some tension and leaves not that much reasons to keep up with the rest of the story. Even though it is action-packed, in terms of its story, The Scorch Trials offers a less appealing plot that ended up losing some of the first chapter’s exciting mysterious depth.

I must say I expected more from this second chapter, mostly in terms of its story… In terms of performances there’s not much to say about… Even though the action sequences are really awesome and even though the movie is successful if we’re just looking for entertainment, it’s somehow weaker than most of the genre’s successful movies. While the first movie was quite a pleasant surprise that ended up contributing a bit to the highly successful formula of Dystopian YA stories, this second chapter didn’t seize the whole potential of James Dashner’s trilogy, since this dystopian universe lost some of its substance to give room to a more entertaining story.

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