The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the second film in the trilogy series, hits theaters this weekend to mostly poor reviews.

Picking up at the end of 2014’s The Maze Runner, Scorch Trials opens with the Gladers outside the maze. Though Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow young survivors think they’ve escaped into a better reality, they soon realize they were mistaken. In the desolate and nearly inhabitable landscape, the group struggles to stay alive as dangers abound.

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Reviews

The Maze Runner generally benefitted from positive reviews. Its sequel, however, has left most critics disappointed. One of the major criticism of Scorch Trials is that the action revolves primarily around running, and, as most penultimate films in a series, suffers from feeling like more of a set-up than an actual film in its own right. The scarce positive notices, however, suggest that Scorch Trials, like its predecessor, still manages to thrill and charm.

“Comprised primarily of scenes where the young leads either race from or race to disaster, with euphemisms and sci-fi dystopian tropes as the weak glue holding them together, “The Scorch Trials” continues this series’ broken, bargain-basement construction, like a Russian nesting doll made of layer upon layer of sci-fi cliches and meaningless revelations that, as they’re pried apart, get more and more tiresome until they ultimately reveal nothing at the core of it all. […] One of the most tedious apocalypses to come down the chute in recent years, this series gets lamer, and lazier, with each entry. The only ‘Trial’ offered by this film is the ordeal of watching it.” – James Rocchi, The Wrap

“When “The Maze Runner” hit multiplexes a year ago, a couple of things distinguished it from similarly dystopian young-adult novel adaptations that had beaten it to the screen. One was the gargantuan maze itself, a twisty yet simple visual element that lent new energy to territory already covered by “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” not to mention “Lost.” […] This distinctiveness evaporates in the underwhelming “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” even with director Wes Ball returning for the second installment in source novelist James Dashner’s trilogy. The movie may feel tonally consistent with the first, but it’s also overlong and thoroughly routine.” – Tom Russo, Boston Globe

“This time around, the kids have been turned into wind-up figures whose only function — taking the title a tad too literally — is to RUN! […] They run from masked soldiers. They run from ravening zombies. They run through desolate desert landscapes. They run through the rubble of ruined cityscapes. (Dystopia: It’s a mess.) They run through endless corridors. So many different corridors in so many different scenes, which somehow all ultimately look the same.” – Soren Andersen, Seattle Times

“Being the second part of a trilogy is tough. You have to advance the story and tease the next film, while still convincing viewers that they aren’t just being milked for as many tickets plus convenience fees as can be wrung out of them. “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” does pretty well….[Dylan] O’Brien is the leader all kids dream of being. Ki Hong Lee and Thomas Brodie-Sangster are sidekicks with substance and (especially in Lee’s case) charm. Yes, these “Trials” go on too long. But they’re never dull, and the kids are always good company.” – Katherine Pushkar, New York Daily News

The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, rated PG-13, is currently in wide release.

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