ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
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Tommy DePaoli

[Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials](tag:1142567) burned through movie theaters this past weekend, winning the box office with a cool $30.3 million and seamlessly setting up the final movie in the series. The brutal adventure follows Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his comrades as they escape authoritarian control to brave the dusty vestiges of formerly bustling cities, known as The Scorch.

Based on its number one spot, it's clear that audiences responded favorably to the latest young adult adaptation to hit theaters. But, what about the critics? Let's take a look at the overarching opinions shared by many reviewers and measure how well that corresponds to your own take on the movie!

It's better than the original

Pretty much everyone, even the stuffiest critics who take issue with the dystopian subgenre in general, agrees that The Scorch Trials outdid its predecessor. Clint O'Connor for Cleveland Plain Dealer sums up the progress nicely:

But "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" is actually an entertaining action-adventure that not only stands on its own, but surpasses the more limited rewards offered by "The Maze Runner."

Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects finds the sequel to be a standout among movies that look similar from the outside. Hunter hopes that people won't overlook the latest young adult adaptation to make it to screen because it's simply worth seeing.

Not only a massive step up in every way it's also the best YA genre adaptation since Beautiful Creatures. Hopefully audiences don't screw up and avoid this one too.

Newsday's Rafer Guzmán sees quality improvement that makes both Maze Runner movies a satisfying one-two punch:

The sequel, "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials," plays even rougher [than the first].

The action alone is worth the price of admission

Michael Sragow at The Los Angeles Times points to director Wes Ball's attention to detail and all-or-nothing chase sequences that will easily leave you distressed:

Ball's go-for-broke enthusiasm enlivens conventional action-movie setups... [W]henever a scene requires a precisely timed window smash or door slam, Ball and his cast overcome clichés with gusto.

Guzmán again finds the action completely believable, which I find to be the most important quality when getting immersed in a futuristic epic.

[T]he action is always plausible and often inventive, as when a new friend, Brenda (Rosa Salazar), takes a tumble through a sideways-toppled skyscraper...

Dylan O'Brien is a natural lead (and leader)

Praising the film's performances in general, Sragow felt that Dylan O'Brien can hold his own against the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, who leads another immensely popular franchise.

He's buoyant and urgent enough to hold his own in a cast full of scene-stealers, especially Thomas Brodie-Sangster's hyper-alert Newt, and Salazar's sly, sexy Brenda...

The Scorch Trials offers O'Brien the chance to really build his role of Thomas into a three dimensional character who is well on his way to becoming a memorable movie hero. ScreenRant's Ben Kendrick perfectly sums up this maturing:

Instead of a brave “new guy” cliche, this round O’Brien is able to explore what exactly makes Thomas such a capable and compassionate leader. Viewers left pining for answers after The Maze Runner‘s climactic cliffhanger, will find The Scorch Trials also adds much-appreciated context to the Glader’s former association with W.C.K.D. – painting a much clearer picture of why Thomas is a hero...

Based on this feedback, it looks like many critics align with the audiences who made Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials number one at the box office. Did these reviews capture your thoughts on the movie?

(Sources: Newsday, Los Angeles Times, Film School Rejects, ScreenRant)


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