It's Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games meets Labrinth in the latest YA adaptation to storm cinemas. That's right folks, I'm talking about, none other than, Wes Ball's take on the hit novel The Maze Runner!

After the success of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, these adaptions seem to be Hollywood's new craze. Based on the first in a trilogy, by author James Dashner, Wes Ball's adaption is atypical from most YA films and is actually the better of this year's ones.

I'm a teen. Let me put that out there. These types of films are aimed at my generation so, suffice to say, I'm probably going to enjoy it more than someone twice my age. However, I walked into the fil quite skeptical.

I hadn't, and still haven't, read the novels and strayed away from the trailers so entered the cinema screen not knowing much about The Maze Runner but not expecting much, other than your ordinary dystopian future set film. I was wrong.

The plot of the film sees our central protagonist, played by Dylan O'Brien, gaining consciousness in a dark lift, before arriving in an unknown location with no memory at all other than that his name is Thomas - even that takes a few days to come to him. We find out that the area he has arrived in is called The Glade and houses about 20 boys - that do everything, to survive, themselves. Surrounding The Glade - this area of forestry, where the Gladers live - is a giant, constantly changing Maze, full of these evil alien-like Grievers.

When a girl arrives, soon after Thomas, the two of them figure out that they were sent there for a reason and are soon trying to crack the wonders of The Maze, finding a way to escape and get answers. All the while, everything around them is changing and they have to face the strain of the Grievers and an unhappy chappy - Will Poulter's Gally - that doesn't take too well to the fall of civilisation in The Glade, following their arrival.

I enjoyed this film, A LOT. Atypical from most YA adaptions, and most films period, this is quick to set up the plot and get into the meaty action. From the second we see a panicking O'Brien ascending to an ambiguous location, you're on the edge of your seat. Ball is quick to captivate audiences and get them drawn into the film, setting things up nicely. Not a second is wasted.

Honestly, I don't have a single problem with any of the casting and acting. O'Brien is superb as our lead man, really driving the film. He has incredible support from Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Blake Cooper, Ki Hong Lee and Aml Ameen who are all fine in their roles but, for me, the standout was Will Poulter. He stuns as Thomas's adversary Gally, in what is one of his best performances yet.

I haven't read the novel(s), so I can't say that it was true to the book or that the book was better because, frankly, I just don't know. As a film, though, the plot is interesting, fun and plays out nicely on the big screen! With something like Divergent, where it's translation to film was very obvious and not the best, The Maze Runner feels like it is actually a movie and not a novel adaption.

Visually, this film is beautiful! The monumental Maze is breathtaking and its sheer scale and aesthetics will have your jaw-dropped in awe and the CGI and rest of the effects are on par too. This is a pretty world and pretty film that is nice to look at.

However, my only problem with the film's plot is its ending. The first two acts of the film are great and play out perfectly but the whole film just deteriorates in the final 20 minutes or so. I just feel that the ending was rushed. They spend an hour and a half building up the climax but that's exactly where it fails.

I don't want to spoil anything but, basically, they cram way too much into the final 15 minutes of the film - everything the film was building up to - with little explanation too so that by the time the credits roll, you're left scratching your head because nothing has been explained and it puts the past majority of the film to waste, like it never happened because none of it really matters.

Oh, and it has the most OBVIOUS sequel setup ever, at the end. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am excited for The Scorch Trials (the titled of the sequel) but the ending to The Maze Runner was just  sharp, abrupt and messy. Sure, you may say that it'll be tidied up in the follow-ups, which I can understand, but it still could've been handled and done much better.

Nonetheless, The Maze Runner is a sparkly new entry into the world of YA adaptions and a dark, brooding first film, in a new franchise, that has enough tension and drama to have you tuned in and biting your nails, for the most part anyway. If it wasn't for the chaotic ending, this film would be on track to score a 5 out of 5. However, it just didn't manage to make it there.

Full of thrills and spills, The Maze Runner is a stylish film that will have you on-edge, hooked for what is a dark and fun new entry in the world of YA adaptions.
★★★★☆

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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