After their experience in the Glades and making their way through the Maze, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends think they’ve been saved from the nightmare. When they are taken to a hidden location with others that have been rescued from WICKED, under the leadership of the ruthless doctor Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson). However, Thomas and the gang learn that the Maze was just the beginning. When they escape the facility after uncovering dark secrets, they find themselves stranded in the wasteland known as the Scorch. As they try to find refuge, they meet other allies, and uncover even more secrets about themselves and WICKED.
Following the hit that was the original, Scorch Trials picks up where its predecessor left off. While the first film got off to a very slow start, much of it consisting of character development (more than it needed), and when there was action, it was very limited. With all of this being said, Scorch Trials thrusts us right into the action after having already been introduced to the characters. Although, each character does get a good amount of screen time, as do the new characters. This sequel doesn’t mess around, it is very fast-paced, but at the same time it delivers plenty of story thrown at us to help us keep up with the characters and where they are finding themselves. Although there’s obviously still questions that are to be left answered for future sequels. As mentioned, the story doesn’t drag and immediately jumps into action (almost literally), for a majority of the film we are given excellent action scenes and plenty of thrills that very much inhabit horror film elements, along the way we are given plenty of engaging twists and secrets that in the end leave us wanting more. The special effects, the set design and make up design is extremely well-done and very much keep you planted in the world of the characters. It is only near the end when things really slow down as it comes to its close. Everything that was lacking in the first film is more than made up for in this sequel. However, I do feel that it could have been much darker than it actually was (it was dark but not enough). There were times also that it felt more tame than it needed to be as far as the violence that could have been amped up way more.
The returning cast members do as great of a job as they did in the first film, but this time around they are much more grounded and stronger than they were in the original. Most especially Thomas. Dylan O’Brien provides a very strong performance and brings a new side of Thomas that was hidden in the first. He is willing to take the torch and lead his friends to safety. There are moments where O’Brien really phones in the cheesy hero behavior, but in the end he still provides a great amount of strength to his character. Even more so O’Brien plays the dramatic and emotional scenes perfectly, her expresses how much it’s taking a toll on him, but he’s still trying to keep himself together. While the rest of the cast does excellent on their own terms, there wasn’t a whole lot in their roles that made them all stand out, except for the strong chemistry amongst them.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is that rare sequel that very much tops its predecessor. This all thanks to the non-stop action and thrills, well-development of the story, perfect effects, and solid performances by the cast. It will leave you wanting more right when it cuts to black and fill you with plenty of emotion and adrenaline.