Movie Reviews: The Maze Runner Trilogy (Part 2)

I had to take a little break before continuing with Part 2.

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If you’d like to read Part 1 of my review, it’s right here.

Let’s get straight to the point. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials came out a year later, 2015, right after the first one. It’s interesting to note that the film was released pretty quickly, even though not a lot of people had seen or known about the first movie.

onion-avatar123Initially, I did not see the Maze Runner in theaters. My mother actually wanted to go watch it, since she had seen the trailers for it and she thought it looked quite exciting. In fact, we both just watched it on TV, including the sequel, once the third film was being promoted January 26th through February.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure came out in 2018. It could’ve been released sooner, but the main actor (Dylan O’Brien) was in a serious stunt accident (something about a car and a train) that left him with some broken bones. He had to recover before production of the last movie could even start.

onion-avatar092Brief summary of the Scorch Trails, if possible. Thomas suddenly wakes up after having a nightmare. He’s in a helicopter, being taken to a some secret location in the middle of the desert. He and the others are escorted to a building with large doors while a pack of hungry zombies chase after them. The soldiers take the zombies down and protect the kids before they enter the giant warehouse, filled with military men/women, weapons, and guns.

A man comes up to them, Janson (actor Aidan Gillen), and tells them that they’re now safe and sound. Every time I see Aidan Gillen, he always looks and plays the bad guy. Anyway, Janson shows them around the facility and leads them to a room, where they can take hot showers, get clean clothes, and sleep in real comfy beds. Newt is loving it, but Thomas is still traumatized from seeing his friend (Chuck) die. He’s not completely satisfied and he senses something is wrong.

Janson interviews Thomas alone and we see that the two don’t like each other, right off the bat. Janson asks Thomas what they were planning to do with him and the other boys. Thomas asks, “Maybe you should’ve asked them that question before you killed them all.” I love that line, because Thomas is becoming a little smarter now. Sure, he and the others may have been saved by Janson and his military men, but Thomas still doesn’t know anything about who Janson is and what his true intentions are.

We cut to a scene with Thomas and the others, eating at a cafeteria. A black boy, who we’ve never seen before, mentions that he and the others were in a Maze as well. That Janson is selecting certain teenagers and sending them to sanctuary farms, where they can live in peace and away from WICKED.

Thomas notices one kid, acting a little bit weird. He has his head down and is skinny like a twig. His name is Aris. Thomas hears the names of the chosen ones and as the kids are leaving, he sees Teresa walking in the opposite direction. He quickly gets out of his chair and walks toward the exit, but is stopped by two big guards. They get into an argument and Janson has to break up the commotion, telling Thomas that he’ll see Teresa soon and that she’s okay.

Thomas now knows something isn’t right, because they’re keeping Teresa separate from the other teenagers. Thomas and his friends go back to their rooms and that’s when things start picking up. Newt questions Thomas’ odd behavior and wonders why he’s doing all of this. They’ve been treated well and have been fed, had their medical exams/shots, and soft warm beds, so why ruin a good thing? Aris opens one of the vents, leading to the room where Thomas is talking to his friends. He knows there’s something fishy about Janson and this place. Aris tells Thomas to come follow him, since he trusts the main character with something important. Aris has disturbing information about the ones, who are chosen by Janson.

Aris says that there’s a room where doctors and guards transport bodies, they’re in these high-tech coffins. No one comes out, ever. The bodies remain inside this mysterious room. Thomas can’t believe what’s he’s seeing, but Aris says they need to get inside that special area. All they need is a keycard to get through the security system, even though one has to wonder why none of the guards didn’t install cameras in the first place.

The next day, Thomas gets into a fight with one of the guards and steals his keycard without him knowing about it. Aris and Thomas go back to the same locked room and they find the true horror behind those doors.  They see kids like themselves, strapped up and drained of their fluids. These kids are technically not fully alive nor fully dead, but then the door opens and Janson steps inside.

Thomas and Aris hide while Janson walks toward the front of the room, where a screen appears. Once again the same lady dressed in white shows up and Thomas recognizes her from the last video, where she killed herself but she’s alive now apparently. The lady in white says that all the kids must be done in tonight for harvesting.

She even tells Janson to make sure they don’t feel anything (not even pain), implying that the ones being harvested in the room are probably left paralyzed from the waist down with only their brains and body still functional. Janson leaves the room and Thomas realizes he needs to warn all his friends.

He and Aris run like hell and notify the others, but there’s no time. Newt wants to know what’s going on, but Thomas says it’s always been WICKED. They went into one trap to another and they need to flee pronto. The others follow Thomas and try to find a way to escape this second maze; they end up bumping into one of the medical doctors, a black woman, and use her (as a hostage) and her keycard as a means of finding Teresa. Thomas saves Teresa’s life as she’s just about drugged and hooked up to some machines, but she hasn’t been left paralyzed and she wakes up once he shakes her. Teresa is pretty stupid by the way, but we’ll explain more later.

Anyhoo, Thomas and the others have a face off with Janson, who’s surrounded by military guards. Aris hacks into the system and opens the doors. Thomas has a gun and starts firing at Janson with electrical grenades that don’t kill on impact, but Thomas is just trying to give his friends some time to escape. He runs just as the door is about to close and he slides right under it.

Then, my favorite scene of all time is when Janson is looking through the window with his men and Thomas gives him the middle finger, which means “Fuck you.”

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I love that part.

So, now the kids are in the desert and they basically have to run from WICKED, zombies, and even lightning storms. Winston dies on the way there, getting infected. I honestly don’t remember Winston from the first movie, so I didn’t really care if he lived or died. He was barely even mentioned and rarely seen in The Maze Runner… how his death affected the others, I don’t really know. He died. Whatever.

To make this shorter, they end up meeting two new characters, who are also my favorite: Brenda and Jorge. They find them at a warehouse, but they are captured and hung upside down, because Jorge sees them as a bargaining chip.

However, Thomas tells them there’s this “Red Army” that’s trying to lead a resistance against WICKED after hearing about it from the lady in white, in the Horror Room with Janson. Jorge decides to help them, since he’s worried that Brenda might not be safe anymore (we’re assuming she might not be his daughter), but he loves her like a daughter anyway. So WICKED finds them and tries to sneak into the building, but Jorge ends up rescuing the kids and blowing it up.

Thomas and Brenda get separated by the others and have to take a sewer system (underground) to escape the explosion and WICKED’s soldiers. They find some zombies that are eerily similar to The Last of Us and Brenda gets bitten on the leg. Thomas and Brenda go into a ruined town that looks exactly like The Book of Eli and it gets a little weird after that.

Thomas and Brenda go into this club, for the End of the World dance-off, and they get drugged. Jorge saves them again from some guy, who lures people into his club and works for WICKED. Then, they find out where the Red Army might be, which is in the mountain. They drive up there and get ambushed by the Red Army and they find out Brenda is infected.

Mary, one the doctors there on site, uses Thomas’ blood to cure Brenda. Teresa ends up betraying them all and WICKED kills Mary in the process. Thomas almost blows himself up with a grenade (another favorite part) and his friends come closer, saying they’d rather be dead than to be harvested like objects. I mean, they’re right after all. Who’d want that kind of life?

Thomas’ plan doesn’t work, but Jorge saves them anyway. WICKED kidnaps Minho and Aris while Tersea goes willingly with them, ’cause she believes it’s the right thing to do, finding a cure. Thomas vows to seek revenge on WICKED and it ends.

MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE

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Thomas goes after WICKED and tries rescuing his friends, who are on a train. They save Aris and his friends, but somehow forgot Minho in the process. They take the kids to the coast, where the Red Army is trying to get a large boat working so they can sail away to safer lands. Anyway, the general of the Red Army tells Thomas that he cannot risk his men and his resources to find one kid.

Thomas decides to risk it by himself, but Newt and Frypan, decide to go with him. They drive into a tunnel, where some zombies catch them off guard. Jorge and Brenda save their asses and the family’s all together again. They go to the border of the Last City (which is surrounded by a huge fence) and guess who they find? They find Gally, still alive, and he’s working on building a resistance himself.

Thomas punches Gally in the face for killing Chuck, but Gally still wants to help them anyway. They decide to form a plan to get inside the Last City, but Thomas won’t like it, since they have to use Teresa. Teresa now works for WICKED and is some doctor, who let’s Minho get tortured on a daily basis in order to find a cure for mankind. Her reasoning behind all of this nonsense is… it will be worth it in the end. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

HOW FUCKING STUPID IS SHE?

 Anyway, moving right along. Thomas and his friends end up capturing Teresa and gain access to the medical building, where WICKED tortures all the kids (who might be immuned to the Flare virus). Pretty much this whole movie has become an action flick, although I’m not complaining about it. A lot of scenes have Thomas and his friends doing some wild stunts. Teresa snatches some of Thomas’ blood on a napkin and finds out he’s the cure, not Minho. Janson goes on the hunt for Thomas, killing anyone who gets in his way, including the lady in white, who he betrays.

Don’t know why he killed her in the first place. It’s never explained and it might seem they had some kind of relationship, but I guess it didn’t work out or something. Newt ends up dying in the most horrible way possible. That was the most dramatic scene in the movie. Janson and Thomas fight in the coolest scene ever. Teresa ends up dying, trying to save Thomas. Thank God, she’s dead.

Thomas and his friends are on a safe island, living throughout their adult lives.

THE END.

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Let’s talk about the bad and good of both movies. I’m doing this in reverse.

CONS:

  1. I didn’t care that Winston died. I kept thinking in my head, “Who the hell is he again?” He was the only character that was designed to be zombie chow, but at least it was just him.
  2. Some of the motivations of the characters are rather lame and not explained enough in detail. What the hell is Janson’s motivations for killing the lady in white? It’s never really explained whether or not he’s working for WICKED or himself. In the end, he says that with a cure they can pick whoever they want to save. But if everyone’s already infected, dead or dying, then what’s the point? Teresa is another example. By betraying her friends and torturing them, she’s finding a cure. She does eventually turn around, but not once do we see her processing the damage she’s doing to Minho. She just goes with the flow most of the time, without questioning why.
  3. The zombies don’t really show up that often in both films. They are still a threat, but not an active nor daily threat to Thomas. They’re just in the background for the sake of decorations and plot. You’d think in the last film, they’d be more of them at night. We don’t see zombies coming towards the border of the Last City, after it’s being destroyed literally in one night. All the lights and explosions happening in that area would’ve been enough to attract a million zombies or more.
  4. It’s not explained how WICKED has the most resources and the biggest army. Where do they get their funding for new airplanes? Who’s building them? Who exactly do they work for? USA? Russia?
  5. How did the other citizens (struggling survivors), the ones outside the fence or those who have no walls nor weapons to protect themselves, survive? If zombies are a constant threat, why aren’t more places building walls and fences?
  6. Newt gets infected, without getting bitten or scratched. How come not one of the other kids gets infected this way either? For the Red Army and WICKED, how would you prevent this? In the Red Army when Mary died, their only doctor, there’s no way of knowing if one of your own men is infected too. Even if you’re on a safe island, away from WICKED and the zombies, there’s no guarantee you’ll be safe from your own infected people and the kids, who you just saved.
  7. How in the world did Gally survive his fatal wound to the chest (possibly to the heart) and even the Flare infection himself? He said someone saved him, but there’s no medicine outside the borders of the Last City. He wouldn’t have lived long, that’s for sure.
  8. Teresa, Teresa, Teresa! She hardly showed any real emotions in these three films, not until that last scene and even her death was kind of boring. Her reactions are basically the same as Kristen Stewart: blank stare, surprised stare, angry stare, and more staring.

 

THE PROS:

  1. I love that the movies have gotten better over time. They have a beginning, middle, and end that ties them all together. They continue right after the other as if you didn’t miss any time whatsoever. After the second movie, Thomas says he’ll get revenge and save Minho. In the beginning of the third movie, Thomas is trying to save Minho. It’s not disjointed and it flows well from one scene to the other. The editing is amazing too.
  2.  They kept the original characters in all three movies. Yes, we don’t have to worry about that whatsoever. The actors probably signed a contract to be in two more sequels, so upcoming YA films please take notes.
  3. The special effects got better over time. The creatures, zombies, and even action scenes are pretty damn good.
  4. The stakes are higher. Not only is Thomas risking his life to save Minho and his friends, he’s basically risking everything to save just one person.
  5. Thomas has become a badass superhero… err… sort of. He’s still not perfect by any means, but I have to be honest though. What person would not like Thomas? He may be brave sometimes, but he does show fear. He can also be irrational at times, risking too much. However, he’s someone we can all root for.
  6. Even though Gally miraculously survived, he’s actually a real treat to be around and he’s funny too. Gally brings a surprising new plot twist and becomes a beloved member of the team, which is quite interesting. To see a character who didn’t trust Thomas and then tried to kill him, to being his next best friend is a good thing. It means these characters can change, just like real people.
  7. Janson is such a freaking jerk, who we love to hate. I hate to say this, but without Janson (actor Aidan Gillen) this movie would suck so hard. We all love Janson, even though he’s so evil. He’s not like, “I’ll rule the world someday” type of villain. He’s more like, “Yes, ma’am, I’ll follow your orders until I kill you someday” type of villain. Janson is just trying to survive, like everybody else. He’s always keeping his goals small and realistic, which is to get Thomas by whatever means possible.
  8. The other characters are just as interesting as the main characters. I love Brenda, Jorge, Aris, Gally, and even the half-zombie guy. They are not the typical characters that your main characters meet, who are just there to give them information or to help them out only to later die afterwards.
  9. The soundtrack to both movies was intense. I have to say if the music didn’t match those powerful dramatic scenes, this movie would probably flop. Great attention to score and its impact on the audience.

And that’s the end of my review.

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