Out of the Forest, into the Desert – Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

These off brand franchises better start wrapping things up with the quickness.  So having escaped the Maze that was holding them hostage for so long, our group of young adults now get to see the outside with their own eyes.  It is no longer the world that we would recognize today, as cities have fallen all across the globe.  They have to brave the desert and rally the people to stand up and fight against the enigmatic group known as WICKED.  I think it is safe to say that the bubble has officially popped on these movies; with the Hunger Games finally reaching its conclusion, interest is only going to wan on the offshoots.  With The Maze Runner and the Divergent series, any distinguishing features are becoming further and further muddled, and we have reached the point where if you were to describe to me a subplot from either, I wouldn’t likely be able to identify what series it is from.

1If there ever was a series that needed a “previously, on (Maze Runner)”, this would be the one.

I do think this series has more going on for it than Divergent, and the reason behind that is that it had a better foundation.  With that first movie, it actually felt like they were trying to do something different instead of following the exact same template that the Hunger Games series crafted.  You got launched right into the series like this kid did in the elevator, and your interest was kept because you were wondering the “why” behind it all.  Now, with this next chapter, it has become all the more apparent that they didn’t have an answer to that question, so they just diluted the story into the same old formula.  So, we have: 1. some sort of tyrannical force, hell-bent on oppression got mysterious reasons, 2. a dystopian world where cities have fallen, and 3. a protagonist that is considered to be special for whatever reason.  In fact, the only thing that they really added to this was fast zombies without officially calling them zombies.  That and Littlefinger.

2It doesn’t matter the setting, you can never trust this jackal, ever.

Because the first movie is actually worthwhile, the main question that begs to be answered about this is does it fit well with the first.  I don’t think it wholly jives with the universe that it originally created, and almost all of the mystique in the intriguing setup has gone away entirely.  I know that the word “runner” is in the title, but so much of this is just running and fighting with no end goal in sight, and it is very quick to move on to the next thing, and I never felt a lot of emotional weight here.  We are no closer to knowing anything about the man behind the curtain, which makes it hard if you want to keep going with this series.  The Maze Runner series has blurred into every other YA franchise, which in hindsight, makes it difficult to recommend that you watch the first one.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) **1/2

– Critic for Hire

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