Don’t go into The Scorch Trials expecting proper character development or exquisite script-writing: there simply isn’t time.
The second instalment of the Maze Runner series opens where the first left off, with Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Minho (Lee Ki-hong), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) being taken to a bunker by their rescuers.
They’re greeted by Janson (Aiden Gillen), who welcomes the heroic youths, and introduces them to a bunch of other kids. Turns out the Glade wasn’t the only maze, and Tommy and co weren’t the only gang smart enough to get out.
Surprise, surprise: Janson isn’t the jolly uncle type they’d hoped for, the bunker is not summer camp, and soon the exhausted foursome are on the run again, with three other boys from other mazes. This sets the tone for the rest of the movie: find a seemingly safe haven, but then discover it’s actually a zombie lair, or that the saviours have called the evil corporation WCKD, or the team has been drugged the team. As soon as possible, they’re on the run again.
While the constant movement is exhausting for the viewer, the set is impressive. From a massive, bleak desert – the Scorch – which allows for some gorgeous back-lit shots, to labyrinths inside collapsed skyscrapers, and warehouse hideouts requiring Cirque de Soleil skills to navigate, each new site is more gasp-worthy than the last. And the zombies are genuinely gruesome.
If you can bear in mind that this is only a link between the first and last Maze Runner episodes, and allow yourself to be amazed by the production, this is an action-packed adrenaline rush that will appeal to fans of dystopian fiction and action movies alike.