The film opens with our hero, played by Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf), waking up in an elevator bringing him to a strange place called The Glade, an area of wilderness surrounded on all sides by massive walls. It is populated by a group of teenage boys, none of whom remember anything before coming to The Glade other than their name (“It’s the one thing they let us keep.”). They explain that once a month, the elevator brings up a selection of supplies as well as a new boy. Our protagonist, who eventually remembers that his name is Thomas, befriends a young boy named Chuck (Blake Cooper), second-in-command, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), and the boys’ leader, Alby (Aml Ameen), and makes an enemy of the suspicious Gally (Will Poulter). Outside the walls of The Glade is a massive, constantly changing maze, filled with deadly creatures called grievers. The fastest and strongest boys are selected to be maze runners, tasked with attempting to map the maze in order to find a way out. Thomas, of course, soon becomes one.
This film, like I said earlier, is best described as average and unsurprising. The plot is very typical of young adult-oriented films, with a decent amount of action and an ending that can be spotted a mile away. The writing and acting are both middle of the road, although I will admit that the child actors are better than many I’ve seen. The action is well choreographed but nothing particularly special, and the special effects are up to par but no better. Camera work, editing, music, and everything else is exactly what you go into the movie expecting to see.
And you know, I can’t really complain too much about that, because when I go to see a young adult action flick, those are all things I expect to see. I saw what I came to see. I got exactly what I paid for, and if you go to see this movie, you will get exactly what you pay for: a plot that’s interesting but not mind-blowing, action that’s good but not great, and acting that’s adequate for the needs of the films. This is not to say that all young-adult films are exactly like this; some of them are significantly better than the average and some of them much worse. But statistically, the majority of them will fall close to the center, and I think that The Maze Runner is the perfect place to put our average point on the spectrum of young adult action movie scale.
So if you’re in the mood for an action-packed story about a bunch of teenagers trying to escape from a gigantic maze, than go on and see The Maze Runner. It is exactly what you think it will be, and there’s something to be said for that.