Thursday Night Movie Club
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
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Release Date: 18 September 2015

Director: Wes Ball
Dylan O'Brien
Ki Hong Lee
Kaya Scodelario
Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Dexter Darden
Alexander Flores
Jacob Lofland
Rosa Salazar
Giancarlo Esposito
Patricia Clarkson
Aidan Gillen
Terry Dale Parks
Kathryn Smith-McGlynn
Lili Taylor
Barry Pepper
Ava Paige
Carl (Masked Man)
Dr. Crawford
The Maze Runner poster The Maze Runner movie poster The Maze Runner movie poster
Kaya Scodelario and Dylan O'Brien star in Maze Runner: The Scorch TrialsLife doesn't get any better for Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his friends in this sequel to "The Maze Runner. They survived The Maze by breaking out of it, quite literally. Now they have been rescued and taken to a desolated city run by Janson (Aidan Gillen). They are safe from those infected by The Flare, a deadly disease that decimated the human population.

Thomas and friends discover, to their shock, they aren't the only ones who were stuck inside a large maze and managed to escape. How many mazes and how many unwitting young men and women are there?

When all of the young adults have been grouped together, Janson enters and informs them they will be relocated a few at a time. Names are called. Thomas' friend Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) is called. She leaves with the others. No one knows where they go. No one hears from them again. No one knows if they are safe or if this is another horrible trap from which to escape.

Experimentation from Maze Runner: The Scorch TrialsSomeone does know a little of what is happening. Aris (Jacob Lofland) takes Thomas into the air ducts of the facility. They see unconscious young adults, including Teresa, on gurneys being wheeled into rooms for testing. Further snooping results in the discovery that Janson is secretly working for Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) and World in Catastrophe Killzone Department (WCKD). This is not a very good development. Janson is experimenting on the young adults to determine if any of them are immune to the disease.

Janson is also looking for information on a group known as The Right Arm and their camp called Safe Haven. Suspecting the worst, Thomas and his friends rescue Teresa and they break out of the city. The immediate area outside the city is called The Scorch. It is a vast desert wasteland. Thomas wonders if leaving was such a good idea.

Once the basic premise of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is established, the film begins to unravel into one confusing sequence after another. There is too much happening and too little exposition.

Dylan O'Brien and Rosa Salazar star in Maze Runner: The Scorch TrialsThe WCKD wants them back. They will pay any price. Besides The Right Arm, The Scorch is populated with others who are apparently immune. They look and live like the bad guys from a "Road Warrior" film. Why doesn't WCKD go after them? What is so special about The Right Arm? Are they immune or have they found a cure? Is WCKD seeking a cure to save all of humanity or only a select few of the ruling elite?

Besides all of the concurrent stories, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials runs into the problem of being the second installment in a trilogy. "The Maze Runner" was a very good film because the story was straight forward. That film actually answered some of the questions which then lead to new questions. This was the most intriguing element. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials doesn't answer any questions. Who, what, when, where, why, and how will just have to wait.

Thomas and friends in Maze Runner: The Scorch TrialsConfusing the issue further, allies become traitors. Traitors become allies. Allies are double-crossed but those double-crossed are smart enough to have a backup plan. Through it all is the nagging question: Why is Thomas so important that vast resources are put into play to recapture him?

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials comes to an end with Thomas and his friends, old and new, in disarray. Thomas vows to return to the city, save his friends and destroy WCKD, whoever they are. In the blink of an eye, Thomas is now the leader of the rebellion. One question lingers: What just happened?

Even with all the confusion and chaos, life comes a little too easy and convenient for Thomas. Everyone is looking for The Right Hand. They spend years trying to find them. Thomas locates them in short order.

The desolate landscape in Maze Runner: The Scorch TrialsWhat is the significance of the title, The Scorch Trials? Is this trial by jury? Is it a trial by combat? Is it a trial by fire and brimstone? Is it a trial of survival and stamina? Presumably, these answers will be answered.

The acting in "The Maze Runner" was not as important as the story and the situation. These were young adults who, one by one, found themselves inside a maze. The looming questions outweighed the acting. The acting didn't need to be great as no one knew what was happening. Great acting wasn't necessary.

In Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the acting, or lack of acting, doesn't help. This film is no where near as intriguing as "The Maze Runner." Expectations for the concluding film are waning. Too bad but we shall see.