Review of The Maze Runner

Maze runner movie poster

Last weekend, I went to see The Maze Runner film, which is based upon a best selling novel of the same name by James Dashner. To be truthful, I had not read the book before seeing the film and up until the release of the movie, I hadn’t even heard of it. What attracted me to the film was when I learned that Dylan O’Brien, one of my favorite actors in the Teen Wolf series (yes, I’m a “wolfie”). was playing the lead. Teen Wolf is one of the few television shows that I watch so hearing that Dylan was in The Maze Runner immediately put the film on my radar. I’m also a fan of Dystopian films so I was excited to see what The Maze Runner was all about.

The Setting

A young man named Thomas wakes up in what appears to be a rusty freight elevator with a group of boys looking down at him. He has no memories of where he is or what happened to him. Initially, he couldn’t even recall his own name.

Alby (played by Aml Ameen), the group’s leader, tells Thomas that he is now in a place that they call “The Glade” – a colony consisting of several dozen boys. Alby explains to him that the exact same thing happened to every one of them: they woke up one day in the elevator, remembering nothing except their own name. Every month, a new boy arrives in the “The Box”, with the first arriving three years before.

Thomas also learns that his new home is completely surrounded by a intricate and dangerous maze in which lives enormous and deadly mechanical spider-like creatures called “Grievers”. Nobody has ever survived the sting of a Griever.

The Runners

Among the group of boys are a few chosen “Runners”. Once a day, these Runners race through the maze, learning it, memorizing it and looking for a way out. The Runners only have the day to explore the maze because each night the entrance to the maze closes and the layout of the maze changes.

It is of upmost importance that the runners make it out of the maze before the entrance closes because, as we learn, nobody has ever survived a night in the maze.

Things Begin to Change

Once Thomas arrives, things begin to change in The Glade. For the first time, the Grievers have stung one of the Runners in broad daylight, something that’s never before occurred. Until that point, the Grievers only entered the maze at night (hence the reason why nobody has ever survived a night in the maze). Thomas begins to question the self-imposed rules that this brotherhood of boys lives by.

He then makes the decision to enter the maze (breaking the “only runners can enter the maze” rule) just as the entrance is closing to rescue Alby, who has been stung by a Griever. Thomas and Minho (plalyed by Ki Hong Lee), the chief runner, hide Alby as they prepare themselves to face the night in the maze. As predicted, the Grievers arrive but using his quick wits, Thomas manages to kill one of the them. Thomas and the Runner spend the rest of the night hiding.

The maze entrance opens the next morning and to the shock of the rest of the boys, Minho and Thomas, along with an injured Alby, appear at the doorway alive.

The Spark of Rebellion

Up until now, the boys had accepted their lot – that they are stuck on the Glade. But Thomas has given them hope – hope that there might be a way out. He becomes one of the chosen Runners and along with Minho, discovers that there just might be a way out.

The news of a possible escape from The Glade is not welcome by everyone in the colony however. Some of the boys are so afraid of the Grievers, that they believe that their current self-imposed rules must not be violated – and that above all else, the ultimate goal is to protect each other. The boundary between them and the Grievers must be respected in order to remain safe.

However, for the first time, some of the other boys have latched onto hope. This is where the brotherhood splits into two different camps, very reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, with half the boys following Thomas and the other half following Gally (the movie’s antagonist, played by Will Poulter), who believes that Thomas’s actions are jeopardizing everyone’s safety.

Questions, Questions & More Questions

All through the movie, there are several questions that the viewer asks him or herself:

Just where is the Glade, exactly?
Who runs the Glade and the Maze?
Why are the boys there?
Why can’t they leave?
What happened to them?
Where do the Grievers come from?

These questions all get answered in time – but I won’t spoil anything for you.

Verdict

It’s a tense, dramatic thrill-ride of movie which I felt was well-plotted and well-executed. The movie is in no way predictable and concludes with a surprising and unexpected ending, opening the way for a sequel. This film definitely succeeded in keeping me interested and on the edge of seat wondering when (or if) my questions would be answered and whether the boys would escape – or end up getting killed by the nightmarish Grievers.

The acting in the film was strong and I felt that the lead and secondary characters were believable, strong and well-developed.

The Maze Runner is definitely worth a view and I am already looking forward to the Maze Runner 2. I give it strong B+.

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