Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 49% (Critics) / 69% (Audience)
Directed By: Wes Ball
Written By: T.S. Nowlin
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Ki Hong Lee, Aidan Gillen and Giancarlo Esposito
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Synopsis: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. – (Source)
The action was ratcheted up in the sequel and it turned out to be a good move because the nearly non-stop break-neck pace of the action scenes helped to mask some of this story’s inherent weaknesses. I also enjoyed the young cast who have become even more likable and as a result I was invested in their well-being and actually cared whether bad things happened to them.
The inclusion of the character of Brenda was a smart one too as the character of Thomas (and actor Dylan O’Brien) has almost zero romantic chemistry with his current leading lady.
And there are very few actors who can so effortlessly pull of smug asshat as well as Aidan Gillen does.
I was hoping that Kaya Scodelario’s Teresa would be given more to do in this movie than she was given in the first film but she was even less of a interesting presence in the sequel.
The movie is still being a bit too tight-lipped when it comes to explaining the big secrets of this particular future world though. Shedding some light on the glaring questions left unanswered for two films so far.
There was also a really unfortunate series of scenes set in some bootleg Thunderdome-like town’s rave that not even the welcome presence of the always fun Alan Tudyk could make work.
What the hell was up with that spotty accent that Giancarlo Espositio was using? He didn’t maintain it from scene to scene (sometimes he would drop in the middle of a sentence)? I have seen Mr. Esposito do awesome accents before so I am a bit bewildered as to why he was so shaky with this one unless it was supposed to be a part of the character. And if that is so why didn’t anyone in the movie take notice of it?
Final Verdict: A fun action-packed diversion that improves upon the first film in the series and delivers a rarity in these Dystopian Young Adult Novel based film franchises…which is making a second film that doesn’t feel like it is running in place waiting for the next film in the series for anything interesting to happen.