Hot on the heels of The Hunger Games and its sequel, Catching Fire, was The Maze Runner, released in 2014. The second film in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials, was released in 2015, with the final film, The Death Cure, slated for December 2017.
While I can’t yet comment on the final film, The Maze Runner series has proved very interesting so far in that the setting changes entirely between the first and second film.
While in The Hunger Games series Catching Fire keeps its focus firmly on the events of the Hunger Games, the action shifts from the relatively tranquil The Glade in The Maze Runner to the world beyond its surrounding maze: the scarred remains of a city.
It’s a dramatic shift and one that doesn’t entirely pay off.
As a viewer you also leave The Glade, its handful of inhabitants and any theories you had about its existence. Like the Gladers you are suddenly confronted with the scientists allegedly behind the maze experiment, zombie-like people that have been infected with a virus and the remaining healthy people who are trying to keep safe and protect themselves.
While I enjoyed both The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials, giving each a four-star rating, I think the series has lost part of its USP by introducing these other elements. To me, it felt as if The Scorch Trials combined elements of such films as 28 Days Later and Mad Max: Fury Road. The world has grown bigger but my understanding of what is happening and has happened has grown smaller.
Perhaps the scene will shift again with The Death Cure, as it undoubtedly focusses on what this Flare virus is that has caused a large proportion of the population to take this gruesome state.
Perhaps when that final act has been played I’ll get more enjoyment out of the series as a whole piece; a greater understanding of the flow of the films as it travels from location to location.
Part 3 will be posted next week
Read Part 1 here