Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials REVIEW




With the solid success of The Maze Runner, Scorch Trials is bound to attract a plethora of movie-viewers—and my guess is, only a portion of that audience will have read the books. The rest are most likely in the dark about sinister organization WCKD and their purpose.

Luckily, Scorch Trials picks up literally five minutes after the end of the first movie. Thomas and co. are flown over to a “safe” compound where everything is pristine and a luxury for the Gladers—food, clean clothes, a safe place to sleep. Thomas, the rebel he is, has intuition akin to Peter Parker’s spidey sense—he perceives danger before he sees it. He convinces the gang to make an escape out into the Scorch, the baked sandy version of the world as we know it. On their journey to find out more about WCKD, they face brutal conditions of the wastelands, encounter Cranks (people who’ve been infected with a disease called the Flare), and team up with other rebels who plan to take down WCKD. But when they realize WCKD’s sole goal, morals become murky and suddenly not everyone is on board with golden child Thomas.

The movie feels disorienting—even more so for those who haven’t read the books. Perhaps this stems from a perceived change in tone (cue the zombie apocalypse-esque Crank chase/scare scenes) or an unconvincing plot (the book wasn’t too organized either). For example, Thomas must have some serious leadership skills to convince his friends to leave a safe house unarmed and unprepared to cross the burning Scorch in search of “people in the mountains.” The filmmakers made some key choices that deviated from the book that I believe enhance the storyline, but there are plot holes that take away from the viewers’ satisfaction.

Apart from that, the action scenes were intensely thrilling, from Thomas’s baseball slide as seen in the trailer to escaping Cranks to gun fights. Well done, Wes Ball. The director is adept with the big explosions as well as the metaphorical mini-fireworks: sparks in the small moments and character development. This can be attributed to the cast’s undeniable talent and likeability, which ends up being the Scorch Trials’ anchor among all the commotion and disorientation. I’ve always loved these characters from the bottom of my heart and with every interaction my heart melts a bit. Thomas and Teresa, Thomas and Minho, Minho and Newt, Thomas and Brenda, Thomas and Newt—the character pairings are endless and I love every single relationship (not to mention the actors themselves—Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, etc.).

The score adds to the good fun and adrenaline rush. Even though the Cranks rely mostly on jump-scares and the horror gross factor, it’s still exhilarating to experience, though probably not as enjoyable for your younger brother or sister. Parents beware.


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About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a sophomore at Yale University. Her college application essay has reached millions across the world and factored into her acceptance by all 8 Ivy League Universities. She’s an award-winning on-camera & print journalist in entertainment and character-driven long-form narrative. As a playwright, she has seen her work come to life across the United States. Instagram/Twitter: @cassandrahsiao Facebook: Blog:

Posted on September 9, 2015, in Movie Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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