What the Critics Make of 'Maze Runner'

The thought of being trapped in a never-ending maze is dreadful and tiring – and according to critics, so is the latest installment of Wes Ball’s dystopian sci-fi, “Maze Runner.”

“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” takes main character Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) on a hunt to the desolate area of Scorch, to find clues about a powerful organization. Rotten Tomatoes gives the action-adventure film a 48 percent rating, and reviewers unanimously agree there was not a lot of thought put into the plot.

“‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ is larger than its predecessor, last year’s ‘The Maze Runner,’ in every way: in its cast, scope, set pieces and (unfortunately) length. But ‘more’ also means more convoluted. The mythology in these dystopian young adult novels-turned-films can be dense at times, but ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ crams in more lore, supporting characters, backstories and motivations to the extent that it becomes difficult to get a grasp on anything.” — Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“‘The Scorch Trials’ is merely an overly action-packed sequel so generically executed that its characters muster all the personality of jack rabbits on the loose … O’Brien, the star of TV’s ‘Teen Wolf,’ projects the proper amount of stoic leadership as Thomas, but there’s not much personal chemistry between him and [Kaya] Scodelario’s Teresa. For that matter, none of these characters receives enough screen time to develop relationships with us or each other.” — Dann Gire, DailyHerald.com

Plot aside, some critics at least give the actors an A for effort.

“Around the film’s midpoint, along comes exactly what and who is needed: an actor who can chew it up without slowing it down. All hail Giancarlo Esposito as Jorge, leader of the Cranks. Later, when warring factions take to the hills, Barry Pepper and Lili Taylor pop up as revolutionaries, simultaneously wild-eyed and sympathetic. Adapted by T.S. Nowlin, the material may be cardboard, but the actors do what they can.” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune