‘The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ offers excellent fight scenes but unsuccessful humor

'The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials' offers excellent fight scenes but unsuccessful humor

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'Maze Runner: Scorch Trials' is now playing at Marcus Twin Creek Cinemas.
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox Dylan O’Brien stars in “The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” alongside Jacob Lofland and Alexander Flores.

Academy Award-winning Wes Ball directed the recently-released film, “The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.”  The second installment in the movie adaptations of James Dashner’s book series fails to meet the same standards as the first film, but brings its own delights to the proverbial table.

Picking up immediately from where “The Maze Runner” ended, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his band of companions continue to resist the forces of the organization WCKD.  They end up voyaging into the Scorch, a dangerous desert wasteland, and meet new friends and foes along the way.

One of the characters introduced is Brenda (Rosa Salazar), a brave young woman who works alongside her father-figure, Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito).  Both were believable in their roles, evoking some empathy for them.  Brenda also had great chemistry with Thomas from the first minute they met.

Other notable characters include oddball Aris (Jacob Lofland), sassy Minho (Ki Hong Lee), and expressive Winston (Alexander Flores).  It was refreshing to see Minho, an Asian teenager, be portrayed as a normal human instead of a stereotype.  Alexander Flores’s performance as Winston was excellent, with him taking every small detail in mind while acting.

On the flip side, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) was a flat character, with inferred romantic emotion for Thomas in their shared past being the key part of her role.  Towards the end of the film, she makes a drastic plot-changing decision, but it seems somewhat out-of-place.  Not only did she come across as boring, her chemistry with Thomas was hardly present at all.

Throughout the film was an underlying tone of suspense, along with a sense of darkness and fear.  The tension spiked at several points, and a large number of these moments resulted in jump-scares.  These were effective at startling me and other audience members, but I grew to expect them as the movie went on.

The film attempted to use humor to lighten the mood, but most of these attempts fell short.  They were too out of place to succeed, with the exception being Minho’s sarcastic remarks.

The outstanding fight scenes were possibly the best parts of entire movie for me.  Special effects highlighted the brilliant fight choreography, and you could feel the characters’ desperation amongst the violence.  There were a few small mistakes in physics, but nothing more than what is in the average action film.

Before watching these movies, it is necessary to acquire background knowledge beforehand.  This can be done by reading the book series, or by watching the first movie, like I did.  If a lack of time causes a would-be-moviegoer to be unable to do these preparations, bring someone with who has previous knowledge, or risk being confused for the duration of the film.

“The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” offered engaging fight scenes and many intriguing characters, but its dependence on the first movie and failed humor were some set-backs.  Due to those, and other hindrances, I find myself agreeing with Internet Movie Database (IMDb)’s rating of seven out of ten.

Melissa Irish
Reporter