A small field inhabited by teenage boys is surrounded by an imposing ring of walls leading to a dangerous set of ever-changing mazes. When a new boy is sent to them by an unknown source, the way they have been living for years now starts to be challenged.
Yet another film book series within the genre of teen dystopia makes it to the big screen following the massive success of the Hunger Games. And similarities can be seen, mostly in the pacing and dialogue, as clearly the creators of Maze Runner have tried to emulate the on screen formula of the Hunger Games series. In terms of plot I can’t tell you how similar they are without spoiling the Maze Runner, as to begin with the viewers know as little as Dylan O’Brien does about his surroundings.
It has problems, especially when it is going to be compared to the Hunger Games. And the largest of these problems is that Dylan O’Brien has only a fraction of the charisma possessed by Jennifer Lawrence. It is also less psychologically challenging, and has a far less satirical theme, going instead for a more basic teen action film really.
While Dylan O’Brien does not seem like much of a front man, this may just be because Will Poulter steals the film completely. Will fantastically turns his hand to every acting role he is given and this is no different, playing the aggressive conservative member of the Lord of the Flies esque group of teens he commands the screen like one destined for greatness. Really, this is his film.
In terms of action, I actually feel this has the edge of the hunger games, as while it lacks the peril that is prominent in the Games’ set pieces, as just a visual spectacle it is quite something, with its falling walls and not-quite-as-good-as-goblet-of-fire-but-still-pretty-good dark creeping around a labyrinth scenes. In fact it looks like an awful lot of effort and time was spent in the visual design department, if only just as much time had been put into designing the characters other than Will Poulter.
Overall, I did enjoy this movie. I would have more if I had been more engaged with the characters, but nothing about this movie is actually bad, just some parts could be much better.