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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Review: a step down

The Scorch Trials suffers slightly from the sophomore virus as it elongates its middling story with repetitive storytelling and a whole host of running.

The Scorch Trials begins with Thomas and the other escapees living in a compound housing other maze runners. The compound isn’t what it appears to be, so Thomas and the group escape, in search of a community of people living in the mountains called the right arm.

The Scorch Trials brings back the beautiful cinematography and directing style of its predecessor courtesy of returning director Wes Ball. The film incorporates supplementary visual effects with close and raw action extremely well.

However, whilst the film’s action sequences are adeptly constructed, they occur far too often. Not content with one chase, the film injects another. Unhappy with one climb, so in comes another one. One firefight won’t do, so lets throw in one for good luck. As a result, the film clocks in at over 2 hours. It’s far too long and far too indulgent of this midway chapter.

Young adult middle chapters often take their narrative and push it aside in favour of action and long emotional stares. The Scorch Trials certainly does a lot of that but it wins in the supporting cast category.

Aidan Gillen is fittingly nefarious as WCKD lackey Janson. Rosa Salazar is delightful and adorable as the temporary love interest. Giancarlo Esposito is seasoned and confident as Jorge. And Alan Tudyk is pleasantly fun as the apocalyptic scum Marcus. The cast certainly fills itself out but a few also bite the dust.

The Scorch Trials is not as entertaining, haunting or ambitious as the franchise opener. It knows it’s a pit stop on the journey to a more engrossing final chapter. It substitutes character and story for action and vast visual effects. Consequentially, the film is far too long and loses attention due to its uneven pace. But spending time with these characters and their pursuit of paradise, a plight we empathise with, cannot be underestimated.

Score – C-

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