Directed by: Wes Ball
Written by: Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, T.S. Nowlin
Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper
Runtime: 114 min
Wes Ball directs the movie-adaptation of the famous novel written by James Dashner, The Maze Runner. Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up to find out he is stuck inside a huge maze with other young males, who have built a community on a "field" surrounded by massive walls in the center of the said maze.
With his memory erased, he has to figure out who he really is, what a mysterious organization named W.C.K.D. has to do what all of that and, of course, a way to escape.
This film is full of surprises, some are great, some are horrible. The cast is the first good surprise with some amazing performances from pretty much everyone. Dylan O'Brien leads this movie surprisingly well, I did not expect such a high-level display from him since I was also not expecting such a fantastic start to the film. I just thought it was another book-to-movie adaptation to grab some undeserved money.
O'Brien really embodies his character and makes his major share of the screentime worthwhile with some emotional scenes adding substance to the action sequences. Thomas is the type of character that instantly connects with the viewers because he is also in the dark regarding his situation and what the future holds for him and the other guys.
Will Poulter (Gally) also achieves an outstanding performance by interpreting a more aggressive character who actually has pretty good reasons to act like he does. Kaya Scodelario is quite good as Teresa, but her character serves more as a plot device to develop Thomas and to advance the story than a real girl who ends up in the maze. Thomas Sangster (Newt), Aml Ameen (Alby) and Black Cooper (Chuck) also deliver some great performances, being Cooper the standout of the three.
The Maze Runner is very well-directed by Wes Ball. The action scenes through the maze are suspenseful and tense, even though the scorpion-like creatures are too CGI on some occasions. The editing is clean and the isolated setting provides a claustrophobic vibe that elevates the overall beautiful cinematography. It certainly is a good-looking film, with some well-balanced tone and pacing, despite some unnecessary scenes.
This movie offers an unconventional journey: for the first hour and a half, I was genuinely stunned with how captivated I was with the intriguing story. The film's premise is massively engaging due to the mystery in regards to the existence of the maze and to why are the kids there. The exposition scenes throughout the first two acts are incredibly well-executed and besides some nonsense lines here and there from any character, I thought this movie was going to be truly astonishing, but then the third act arrived.
The ending completely shatters all of the film's logic. I mean, it is got to be one of the senseless endings to a movie I've seen in a long, long time. Being this the first installment of a trilogy, I knew I was not going to have all of the answers and that the screenplay was not going to have a definite end. However, I did not expect that a horrible exposition scene would finish the film by creating several plot holes that I do not think the next movies are going to address.
The screenplay starts as a truly interesting and mysterious story and ends with Patricia Clarkson (Ava Paige) destroying any logic the film possessed. I am so disappointed that I am still trying to decide whether I give this movie a positive review or not. Honestly, even knowing a big part of the movie just does not fit correctly with its ending (which, by the way, is very predictable), I was entertained throughout almost all of the runtime and I don't think such a talented cast deserves to go down with the story.
All in all, The Maze Runner self-destructs with the only horrible exposition scene of the whole film by throwing away all of its screenplay's logic. Some characters' script contains nonsense lines, but overall they are all well-developed through really well-directed dialogue scenes. Wes Ball uses the beautiful cinematography to elevate the claustrophobic setting and also achieves some cool chasing sequences with some sharp editing. The first two acts are worth watching and the movie's premise is super intriguing, but the last act, unfortunately, brings the whole thing down.