Baddies’ dumb plans force dull teens to run around

FILM by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Opens Sept. 18
2 out of 5

Of the many “dystopian literature for teens” titles that’ve been turned into movies of late, The Maze Runner is a relatively low-key entity, especially compared to The Hunger Games and Divergent. That’s mainly because it lacks the political edge of the other two; sure, the adults are trying to exploit the kids for unholy gains but their reasons are boring.

In Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the interchangeable group of kids who beat “The Glade” in the first movie find themselves safe in some kind of shelter. The place is allegedly run by enemies of Wicked, the sinister multinational who put the youths in the maze in the first place (subtle this ain’t). Soon, the teens realize something is amiss when their fellow survivors keep disappearing. Outside, society has crumbled and most people have turned into bloodthirsty zombies.

The first Maze Runner was (arguably) slightly above average thanks to the setup. The second one lacks any originality. Zombies? Wheeeee. So not interested.

Even worse, the most appealing kid (Will Poulter, We’re the Millers) was unceremoniously dispatched at the end of the last movie so all we’re left with are the charisma-challenged leads — and neither Dylan O’Brien nor Kaya Scodelario can compete with Jennifer Lawrence.

As the plot is revealed, the whole picture makes less and less sense. I can think of about 800 more practical ways Wicked could solve their “issue” than requiring the sacrifice of healthy teenagers.

I guess if you want to watch good-looking teens run themselves to exhaustion, The Scorch Trials is right up your alley.

Otherwise? I wouldn’t even grab the book.