Well, the first blockbuster sequel of 2018 is here and it’s mostly a dud. Another self serious film that delivers one cliche’ action sequence after another, but never stops long enough to help you really care about the characters it’s taking seriously. Which might be okay if the action sequences were truly unforgettable like the latest ‘Mad Max’ movie. Sadly, they are not and that means that the story has to make up for the relentless pace.
The problem is that the plot for this film is about as thin as a blockbuster can get. As a matter of fact, it can mostly be summed up in one sentence. A determined former Maze Runner fights threw dozens of guys to save his friends life. That’s basically the bottom line and it’s a story we’ve seen a million time. It’s also a story we will see a million more and that’s fine. The problem is the blanks that are filled in about the cure to save humanity are not well explored and the characters are just not compelling.
You can make up for just about any issue with compelling characters. If I genuinely care about what is going to happen with each character then you can go on some pretty wild tangents or some pretty thin plot mechanics and an audience will stick through it because they want to know what happens to the characters they love. This film, on the other hand, has entire subplots about characters dying or being in love and I never felt a whiff of emotion. That’s a big problem.
Now, despite the big problems this movie has narratively, I have to give credit from a craftsmanship side. This is a long movie and I only felt a little like I was waiting for things to just move along. This is because director Wes Ball has really perfected his craft over these movies. He stages the opening action sequence with some pretty great camerawork and exciting pacing. Which he keeps up most of the time because the script is so weak. However, if he can get a better script down the line then I believe he can create something pretty special.
Sadly, there’s nothing really special to the ending of this lackluster trilogy.The first film was surprisingly intriguing because there was a door that had not yet been opened. Once they opened that door it was all down hill from there. With better characters and a more intriguing plot, this might have been a fairly successful trilogy. As it is, it’s just a forgettable one with a promising first chapter.