*The last paragraph expresses short analysis* If nothing else, this film has an incredibly intriguing premise. Imagine. . . (I could start John Lennon's song, but I'll resist the impulse) one day you wake up and find yourself in the middle of a glade. There are teen boys everywhere surrounding you in your terror. You look up and find that your imprisoned by an enormous, seemingly inescapable maze. You try to remember what happened to you, but you draw blank. You want to escape but the but the boys tell you it is impossible, that the maze is unsolvable. Drama, action, and mystery ensue.
Let's start with the positive because, paraphrasing Roger Ebert, every film deserves its day in court. To begin with the best part of the film is its premise. At first, the thought of being stuck in their environment could feel a bit contrived much like a combination of Lord of the Flies mixed with a combination of stories, particularly dystopian futures. Though, in reality, its premise is irresistibly interesting. The maze environment is enigmatic by nature and makes for some fantastic chase sequences and mystery. This in part, carries the enjoyment of the film for the first two acts.
Another reason why this film does work is mostly just because of solid film making. The exposition is laid out really well without becoming overly apparent, the tension is great, and the set production/general world building feels authentic.
All of this is brought together with, for the most part, some real solid acting. Dylan O'Brien, playing our protagonist Thomas, is genuinely quite good and at times fantastic. He really sells his fear, confusion, and deeply passionate heroism. The actors playing Newt and Alby are also quite good and everyone else holds their position well enough, even though many of them are one dimensional(/two dimensional?) which was forgiven at first because of faith that an added dimension to their character would be realized upon the finale.
This film had me for the longest time. I was going to give it such a high rating, then the final act kicked in. The third act of the film descends into something unrecognizably bad. Only time will tell whether future films can solve some of the logic problems and plot holes. Even then, they won't be able to solve countless clichés, bad acting, horrendous lines, and weak direction the end of this film has.
I originally thought to myself upon seeing a trailer for The Maze Runner that that it either could be awesome or really crappy. Well, it turns out that its neither. It's merely passable. The real question is whether this is worth seeing in theatres, isn't it? Part of me wants to say yes, because the visuals are quite astounding in IMAX and the first two acts, particularly the first act, are really freaking good. Then. . .uggghhh!!!
Personal Preference: 3.5/5
How Well It Was Made: 3/5