Movie Review: “The Maze Runner” solid addition to post-apocalyptic franchises

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Movie Review: “The Maze Runner” solid addition to post-apocalyptic franchises

Vincent Schultz, Managing Editor

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With “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” series already in full swing, “The Maze Runner” has strong competition for the best Teen/Dystopian film series. Though the film may fall short to “The Hunger Games” series, “The Maze Runner” does offer intense action and a promising future, at least for audiences.

Released September 19, “The Maze Runner” is directed by Wes Bell and stars Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Aml Ameen, and Blake Cooper.

“The Maze Runner” tells the story of a community of young men trapped within a maze. With the boys having no memory of their pasts, things begin to drastically change with the arrival of newcomer Thomas (O’Brien).

As Thomas begins to break the rules set in place by leaders Alby (Ameen), Gally (Poulter), and Newt (Brodie-Sangster), the community is forced to adapt to the changes and find an escape.

When watching “The Maze Runner,” there are a number of things that add depth and excitement to the film. However, in the same breath, some things have the exact opposite effect and hold the film back.

Perhaps the most promising aspect throughout “The Maze Runner” is the supporting cast.  Characters Newt, Alby, and Minho (Lee) are exciting and fun to watch. The actor’s performances are strong and, at times, far outshine that of Dylan O’Brien as Thomas.

At the same time, some performances throughout “The Maze Runner” seem weak and, at times, completely pointless.

Blake Cooper as Chuck is meant to add a lighthearted touch to the film, but instead, he is more of an annoyance. Will Poulter’s tough-guy performance as Gally is so generic that it ultimately fails to impress.

Kaya Scodelario as Teresa is by far the most underdeveloped performance in the movie. Being the first girl ever to live in the community, there are so many story possibilities to explore with her character. However, she is used to simply move the plot along when necessary; her character is never fully developed.

Outside of characters, one of the best parts of “The Maze Runner” is the overall design. The ever-shifting maze is an intimidating and intricate structure where the best scenes throughout the film take place.

The third act surely fizzles out and leaves several plot holes and ambiguity you would expect from a TV season finale. However, there is enough excitement and action to make “The Maze Runner” a solid addition to the post-apocalyptic franchises filling theaters.

I’m giving “The Maze Runner” 3/5 Kernels.

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