The Maze Runner: Movie Review
Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Director: Wes Ball
Dylan O'Brien is Thomas, who finds himself deposited into The Glade, an enclosure of a community of boys trapped within a maze. With no memory of who he is, why he's there or how to escape, Thomas tries to fit in with the "Gladers" as they're known - but before long, he's desperate to escape the mysteries of the Maze and get out.
However, Thomas' arrival into this post-apocalyptic world stirs up more than just a few disgruntled issues and rivalries within this utopian dystopia. And that's not the only problem he faces - outside of the walls, the Maze is patrolled by mysterious creatures called Grievers which will kill them if they try to escape.
Things get even more complicated when a girl called Teresa (Kaya Scodelerio) arrives and Thomas begins to get flashes of memory of a life before the Glade...
The Maze Runner is a largely effective thriller that serves up suspense, tension and thrills as director Ball etches out the novel's mysteries with a dollop of portentous talk and ever-lurking danger.
The boys group and their dynamic works exceptionally well and the set up of the world within the Glade is brilliantly and concisely espoused so that it all feels so natural. Likewise, O'Brien's bond with the rest of the group - including the friction with Poulter's edgy Gally, who's fearful of the world that Thomas has brought with him.
It leads to some tense situations, including a thrilling Maze showdown with a nightmarish Griever (a mechanically mounted spider bug like creature) that crackles with edge of your seat nerves. Plus, the divide and rift that opens up with Teresa's arrival is nicely handled.
But, by dragging out the mysteries for the majority of the run time in the first of this trilogy, there's an inevitable price to be paid - and that comes in the final 15 minutes of the movie as a mass of garbled exposition is spouted and not all answers are revealed. It requires a few leaps of faith and some logic holes to be traversed as the story plays out. And a bond with one of the others in the group is a predictable trip to disaster, that lacks originality.
Equally, some of the fight sequences are choreographed too confusingly and shot too darkly leading to a sense of bewilderment and potentially emotionally charged moments to be dramatically squandered.
But all in all, The Maze Runner is a thrilling start to the series - it's worth getting lost in this maze, because from what transpires in the first segment, the journey's likely to be an interestingly intriguing one.