Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials 1.0 stars

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials movie poster

Part two of Wes Ball's (The Maze Runner) adaptation of the hit YA trilogy runs and runs and ultimately stumbles on its way to part three. But first, there’s lots of running, both from evil authority figures who want to harvest our heroes to help fight against the zombie plague, and from those poor souls who have already fallen victim to the zombie plague. And also, to a lesser extent, from the past, when lead runner Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) worked for the bad guys. The interesting question of Part One — is it really worth dying to know what’s out there? — gets trampled underfoot, as does Part One’s whole reason for being. (Why did we have the Maze, again?) Instead, we’re served up the hoary contest between the good of the many and the needs of the few, muddied only slightly by personal loyalties. The enemy's goons are as selectively competent as Imperial Stormtroopers. It’s nice to see actors like Alan Tudyk, Patricia Clarkson, and Giancarlo Esposito getting work, the great piles of concrete and sand oppress as they ought, and some action sequences still manage to thrill. But that’s not enough to keep the silliness from showing through, or to keep the 131-minute runtime from feeling like a bit of a...trial. 2015.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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