Retrospective: Maze Runner Trilogy

By Contributing Writer, Haroon Shareef

I remember watching the first Maze Runner on Star Movies two years ago. I never heard about this movie or the books before. I’m someone who loves and is obsessed with mazes since my childhood, and when I saw the ad on TV, I watched the film, and I loved it. The whole concept, the environment, and the characters were so unique and thrilling. As soon as the movie ended, an ad appeared saying that ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is out in digital/DVD’ I was like, “they already made and released a sequel to this awesome movie!!?!” In a flash, I bought the Scorch Trials digitally and watched it. It ended so bizarrely that I couldn’t believe the film ended this way and I was waiting for The Death Cure ever since and got to watch it in cinemas months ago.

Directed by Wes Ball with the screenplay by T.S Nowlin, Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure featured a diverse and energetic cast and crew. The Maze Runner trilogy was Wes Ball’s and Nowlin’s debut work in Hollywood, and it made a total of almost $1 Billion with a total budget of $160 Million. John Paesano, who previously scored Netflix’s Daredevil and The Defenders, scored all 3 Maze Runner films. His dramatic and moving score was one of the highlights of these films. I have to applaud the stuntmen for the fantastic work in these films.

The Hunger Games launched the young adult fiction genre, and the genre itself is pretty much dead right now. While the Maze Runner trilogy is a bit flawed and looks like a generic Hollywood blockbuster, there is so much about these films and characters that made me love this loose adaptation of James Dashner’s novels.

The Maze Runner (2014)

Dylan O'Brien in 'The Maze Runner'

The Maze Runner is the best of this trilogy. I enjoy re-watching this every time. It starts off with Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, being the new arrival in the maze. Alby (Aml Ameen) introduces the maze and the rules to Thomas and us. The film is from Thomas’ perspective, we don’t know what’s happening (unless you’ve read the books). We have these silly ideas and thoughts on how to escape this maze and Thomas presents these ideas to Newt. Compared to Thomas, Minho (Ki Hong Lee) is a well written and a lot cooler character. The dramatic score and the brilliant acting made me engaged in the film and its characters. The film ends with a mysterious cliffhanger that got me pumped for the sequel.

I love this one a lot more than the sequels because of my love for mazes and this is a lot better film than the next 2. Funnily, this is the only Maze Runner film and book were the maze is prominently featured. I missed them in the next 2, but these characters and their journey grew on me more than this wonderful maze.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

The Team in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

A fun Zombie movie where we learn more about the may/may not be evil organization, WCKED (WICKED in the books). We see Thomas being separated from his mom through his nightmare/flashback. The first act is about Thomas and his new friend, from the girls’ maze, Ares finding out about Ava’s and Janson’s secrets. The whole escape sequence with the music and Thomas’ sliding in the end was spectacular. Now the kids are out in the desert, alone and afraid. Now, this is where the film becomes a zombie apocalypse film. The kids meet new characters during the journey. The film ends with a battle against WCKED caused by the betrayal by their friend Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). They took Minho, my favorite, in and a lot of others as well.

The problem with the Scorch Trials is that it’s confusing and it’s all over the place. It’s unfaithful to the second book but the action, the score, and the acting continue to be stellar.

It’s about everyone WICKED’s ever taken, everyone they will take. They’ll never stop, so, I’m gonna stop them. I’m gonna kill Ava Paige.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)

'Nice Pep Talk'- Minho (Maze Runner: The Death Cure)

Three years we spent behind those walls, trying to break out. And now you want us to break back in.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure looks more like a frightening sci-fi or a government thriller while having similar setting as the Scorch Trials. The urban look in WCKED’S environment is amazing to see. The Death Cure’s first scene is brilliant and shows us that Thomas and co are finally brave and ready to act against WCKED. Their first movie against WCKED even got the star, Dylan O’ Brien heavily injured on set. Thomas’ personal agenda is high in this movie as he wants to save Minho badly but he’ll have to face Teresa as he enters the WCKED basement. Thomas reunites with his first enemy in the Glade, Gally (Will Poulter). We witness loss and suffering in the action-packed 3rd act. Thomas did all this to save his friend but he returned without the other. The renowned Page number 250 of the 3rd book was acted brilliantly by Dylan O’ Brien & Sangster that got the fans in tears.

Take this! JUST TAKE IT! Please Tommy…Please..
Finally sitting down and watching this on the big screen made me so happy and relieved. The Death Cure ended the series beautifully.
This series is so underrated and if you haven’t seen them yet, please watch them and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.