Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Jacob Lofland, Alexander Flores, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito, Patricia Clarkson, Aidan Gillan, Lili Taylor, Barry Pepper, Alan Tudyk
Directed By: Wes Ball
The Scorch Trials is a little like Catching Fire, in that it’s the connecting film between the big explosive beginning and the big explosive finale. Because of this, it somehow feels like it has less action than the first film, but it also sets up for a big finale (presumably), so you can’t necessarily hate it. Somehow the Harry Potter films avoided this and made each entry feel special. This is still a good film, just not as good as the first. And, I’ve heard from people who read the book… they took a lot of liberties, which is something I’m never really a fan of. I especially get annoyed in the Divergent franchise when it is so radically different from the book.
Our main Gladers get a bit more exposition and character as there are now less of them to focus on. Specifically, FryPan (Darden) and Winston (Lofland) seem to have a lot more screentime here versus the original. It also does a good job of introducing new characters, while setting up the next film. On paper, it works really well, but the gimmick of being trapped in a maze is gone. At least in Catching Fire they brought more Hunger Games into the story. Here, the kids are just running from WCKD, and trying to find someplace safe. It’s actually more like Mockingjay in that respect, I suppose.
I still think Dylan O’Brien has a solid future as a film star, and I’d also give more roles to Ki Hong Lee (we just do NOT have enough asian actors in Hollywood to let a talented one like him go), and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (who needs more to do in this franchise as well). I also enjoyed Rosa Salazar as Brenda, one of the new entries in the film. I’d recommend any of them to casting directors looking for fresh faces.
I’m still on the Maze Runner train, and I’m hoping the next film will be even more exciting than this one. Hopefully, there is a next one. The next one is slated for 2017, instead of keeping the one a year format. We’ll see what happens then.
FINAL GRADE: B