As Thomas reaches the top, he is greeted by a community of boys of a similar age, who call themselves ‘Gladers’. They too were thrust into this world with little rhyme nor reason, and across the past few years have developed a society, as they live in the Glade – a grassy patch surrounded by four intimidating, unforgiving concrete walls, which shield them from the maze, and the nefarious Grievers that live within it.
Thomas is befriended by ringleaders Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Alby (Aml Ameen), who explain to him that in order to escape they must attempt to get through the maze – something they haven’t been able to get close to doing since their arrival. However one Glader who isn’t quite so accommodating is the hardened Gally (Will Poulter), who is unnerved by Thomas’ curiosity and desire to find a way out. Though the further the new inhabitant pushes, the likelier a route out becomes, before Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) becomes the first female member of the pack.
As we witness events unravel through the eyes of a young boy with memory loss and no clue as to how he got here, it places the audience in a state of disconcertion, as we then piece together this perplexing situation as he does. It’s this elusive nature that is The Maze Runner’s greatest selling point, as the viewer is fed small amounts of information throughout, as we’re never once spoon fed – which is indicative of a picture that is following on in a similar vein to the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent, and making a mature, bleak picture for a younger crowd. The pacing is spot on too, as Ball done a fine job crafting this narrative, while it’s certainly enjoyable for the viewer to attempt to overcome this puzzle, as we too feel like we’re trying to figure a way out of this hellhole, making for an immersive experience.
The problem with this title, however, is that when the answers we so desperately seek finally arrive, they’re underwhelming and anticlimactic. The set up, in this instance, is far more rewarding than the pay-off, which is somewhat convoluted. It also doesn’t help that our filmmakers seem so concerned with a potential sequel, that they compromise what could be a more substantial, satisfying conclusion as a result. This doesn’t feel like a complete film, but part of a franchise, which is a shame.
Nonetheless, there remains a lot of potential in here for future productions, particularly given the credentials of the cast on board, most of which are British. You get the impression that while this particular endeavour is not quite as accomplished as one may have hoped it to be, that after the entire set of films (that are almost inevitably going to be made), there may well be a lot to admire.