A sequel to 2014’s hit sci-fi drama The Maze Runner, this once again has a group of teens led by Thomas (O’Brien) and Newt (Brodie-Sangster) trying to survive after some sort catastrophic event has caused the world to become a desolate dystopia.
Remember how Thomas and pals had been trapped in a gigantic maze in the first movie, only to escape at the end and be rescued by a group of mysterious men in black? You’d better, as director Wes Ball doesn’t waste any time recapping those events, instead expecting his viewers to be completely up to speed with what happened, who the oft-mentioned baddies WCKD are (a corporation that may be responsible for the mess everyone is in now) and why Thomas goes all googly-eyed over annoying fellow captive Teresa (Scodelario). Actually, even seeing the first movie doesn’t explain that last one.
We’re thrown instantly into the action, as the gang’s rescuers take them to a concrete facility full of other kids who have survived other mazes. Each evening, some of their names are called and the kids go off never to be seen again, so Thomas starts to wonder what’s really happening and discovers that they haven’t really been rescued at all, and their saviour, Janson (Gillen, having fun chewing the scenery) shouldn’t be trusted. So the group have to escape again, this time into the sandy wilderness, avoiding scary zombie-like creatures that have a nasty bite as they go (parents should note that, thanks to said zombies, this is more scary than the first film – see note below).
The action comes thick and fast as the dwindling group (spoiler: more than one teen gets chomped by a zombie) stagger on in the hope of finding a safe place. On the way, they cross paths with characters including Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), who seems to be a relative of Tina Turner’s Aunty from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and freedom fighter Vince (Barry Pepper), and find themselves in various perilous situations that make them – and us – wonder if they were actually better off in the maze.
Ending on a cliffhanger – there’s a third book to be adapted, of course – this is enjoyably tense fare for teens who like The Hunger Games and Divergent movies, with nice performances from the cast and supporting players that also include Patricia Clarkson and Lili Taylor.
Is Maze Runner The Scorch Trials suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate and is not suitable for younger viewers. Parents should note that while kids over the age of 9 may have been fine watching the first Maze Runner movie (which was actually a 15 certificate), this one has infected humans running around who look quite frightening and may be too much for the under-12s.
SPOILER ALERT: There are quite a few tense scenes as the teens escape. The scenes in what appears to be an abandoned shopping mall are quite frightening when the creatures suddenly appear and chase the kids. The scene goes on for quite a while and one of the kids is attacked and infected. The creatures themselves are quite frightening to look at (similar to the zombies in The Walking Dead).
Later, there is a scene with two of the characters in a tunnel. It appears that there are roots growing along the walls and then the cameras shows one of the creatures attacked to the roots which looks very nasty.