I don’t like holding book-to-movie adaptations close to heart, because at some point, the director forgets what the movie is supposed to be about and the whole movie series turns into a money farm for the producers and cast of the movie (see Divergent).
But director Wes Ball has taken the brilliant story and writing of Maze Runner, and turned it into something that could be considered one of the best book-to-movie adaptations since the first Hunger Games movie.
For a change, the movie does not slap you in the face with a long narrative or makes you read a majority of the movie’s exposition in thirty-seconds. Instead, it drops you straight into Thomas’ perspective as he awakes from his unconscious slumber during his one-way elevator ride to the Glades.
After what feels like forever, Thomas manages to re-orientate himself as the elevator stops. The doors creak open and Thomas is greeted by an unfriendly-looking crowd of teenage boys. After being helped out of the elevator he does the only “logical” thing to do in this situation: run. But before he can calm down, he trips and the screen goes black.
Thomas wakes up in some kind of make-shift prison. He’s let out by Alby, the leader of the Gladers, and given a tour around the space they lived called the “Glades” (go figure), familiarizing Thomas with their rules and a few of the others. The only thing not explained are the immensely-giant stone walls with equally-sized stone doors that lead into a massive maze. This maze just so happens to be surrounding the Glades on all sides, appropriately named “The Maze” (I guess originality wasn’t their kind of thing).
After maybe 20 minutes of watching Thomas try to fit in with this new lifestyle, the story occasionally side-tracked by his curiosity of the Maze. The story only really kicks off after Thomas runs into the Maze at night in an attempt to help Minho, but instead ending up trapped inside the Maze overnight.
Unfortunately for the pair, creatures called “Grievers” wonder the Maze at night, and one of them finds the duo, chasing Thomas and Minho until Thomas tricks the Griever into a trap (using the power of plot armor), becoming the first Glader in three years to kill a Griever.
Once they duo returns, Teresa, the only female to ever enter the Glades, arrives. This is where the story really kicks off. However, she is given very little importance in this movie, but Wes Ball used his brain and didn’t turn the story into a teen-romance.
But the movie fails to save itself from probably one of its biggest faults, which starts at the beginning of the movie. What is it? Plot armor. It relies strongly on giving the viewer the feeling that Thomas is in mortal danger, when really, he isn’t in any danger of being killed.
The Maze Runner movie, although it sticks strongly to the story of the book, it fails to create enough emotion before killing one of the Gladers. Even if they were just extras, it helps to create at least a small connection to the character, and make the viewer feel emotions when they’re killed.
Even though the story was brilliant back when the book came out in 2009, the same format has been used in other films since then, making the movie’s events much more obvious, and very much expected, removing some of the movie’s heart-pounding moments, and making them dull.