IHAO on ... the Maze Runner

Young Adult has a series of very interesting little tropes to themselves.  Most of the young adult films are female focused, featuring Mary Sue protagonists, fighting against some form of oppressive society, generally being forced to kill folks.  The protagonists are always somehow special and different from everyone else, as well as having to figure out their own personal choices and more than one romantic opposites who are vying for the protagonist's heart. Maze Runner is a "young adult" film that breaks every single one of those tropes, and really all the young adult tropes ... until its last few minutes.  I actually hate calling Maze Runner "young adult" at all, because it is a mature, sophisticated, and interested science fiction film that just happens to have young adults as the protagonists, antagonists, really all the characters.

Plot: Thomas, wakes up in an elevator, going up into a glade in the middle of an enormous maze.  There, he learns the society the boys there have set up to survive, as there are monsters in the maze.  But somehow, things are different, things are changing.

I would love to give more, but there actually isn't a lot more plot to share without getting into spoiler territory.  Luckily, the plot is not the best part of the film.  In fact, the plot itself is pretty predictable for a science fiction story like this.  But that predictability is not necessarily bad.  How?  Because of the actual film-making.  The movie does an incredible job of shooting its scenes to really get us into the mindset of Thomas.  We experience what he experiences, how he experiences it, and the film is made all the better for it.  This is a TENSE film, with some really emotional scenes and just ... it is a really well made film.  The dialogue is solid, the plot is perfectly fine, but the acting is glorious by all these kids, especially Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, and our lead, Dylan O'Brien.  Wes Bell, a virtually unknown in directing does a MASTERFUL job.

I have two complaints about this film.  First, the finale.  Hard to not give spoilers, so I will be as vague as possible: this film would have been better served if it was not the first part of a young adult series, because the finale made this film feel just like every other young adult film out, which is awful, because this movie was AMAZINGLY good (if you could suspend your disbelief for the genre stuff) until the exposition dump and sequel bait of the finale.  Secondly, the only female character in the whole film would have been better suited to the story if she had been a box.  Yeah, she is more than pointless.  She is a waste.

^^^ = better love interest than Teresa.

The sequel coming has me a little worried, because the finale of this perfectly good film in my opinion really sours the movie.  But with Wes Bell making it, and the same kids for the most part, I am going to give it a chance.  A hesitant one, but one nonetheless.

I loved this film.  I think it is a really really good one, and one I will 100% own.  I do not want my kids to miss this film.  It is adult in nature, but perfectly acceptable for older kids.

Grade: A+

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