Hot Take: The breakneck pace of The Maze Runner is so fast, you might not even be upset to realize this was basically a two hour teaser for the second movie in the trilogy.
The Maze Runner, the first of three films based on The Maze Runner young adult novel series by James Dashner, moves at a frenetic speed shocking for even your typical action fare let alone a movie based on a 300-plus page novel. The action-first approach expands the film’s appeal to more than the young adults the novel series targets.
The Maze Runner isn’t innovative in the subject department. It has elements of many of the other young adult novels which have moved to the big screen over the past decade and a half (and a little further back as it borrows heavily from Lord of the Flies) sans much of the angst of the more contemporary novels. What’s unique to The Maze Runner is the action. While there are portions of the Harry Potter series which are action-driven and the other YA novels have their fill of action scenes, none come close to the level or intensity of the action present in The Maze Runner.
In support of the action, there are well-acted scenes to piece the action together with enough storyline and characters worth rooting for. It’s click-bait for the inevitable sequel. Lead actor Dylan O’Brien is particularly strong as Thomas but you’ll likely get attached to a particular member of the ensemble cast. (Hopefully, you don’t get too attached in case they all don’t make it out of the maze!)
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- The Action-Packed Tone is Set Early and the Movie Never Loses It’s Identity
Make no mistake about it, The Maze Runner is a heart-pounding, pulse-raising action flick. Sure, the teen characters are appealing to a younger audience but any action fan is likely to be satisfied with the finished product.
- The Maze Runner‘s Divergent Tale Should Satisfy Anyone Hungering For Something Different From Their Normal YA Trilogy
There’s a theme to these YA thrillers somehow The Maze Runner craftily works it’s way around. Instead of the teen angst, love is in the air or at the very least on the periphery angle, the movie focuses on the group of 30 or so teens stuck in a maze and their inner struggles with the unknown and how they manifest.
Everyone has their favorite supporting character. I’m on Team Chuck. Played by Blake Cooper, Chuck got the part by pestering director Wes Ball on Twitter until he agreed to view a demo tape of Cooper’s work.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- These Aren’t Really Teens, Are They?
The acting is solid but hard to suspend disbelief these adults are actually teens. Most of the cast is in their mid to late-twenties which is about a decade older than the characters they portray.
- There Are Obvious Head Scratchers
In the first act, Thomas finds out about The Grievers. The entire Glade population is readily aware and fearful of The Grievers’ existence but no one has ever seen one.
- There Was So Much Left Unexplained, It Begs You to See the Sequel
Did the unwelcome practice of clickbait make it to the big screen? Cynically, one might ask themselves if the vagueness of the plot is a cheap way to drive in audience to the sequel.