Why The Maze Runner outruns all logic – movie review

MJG Book / Movie Reviews 61 Comments

maze

★★★ The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Dash is a good name for a book about running) is an infuriatingly good example of taking great liberal splashes of all the great stuff that went before (LOST, Truman Show, Hunger Games), and not learning the key lesson from any of them. It is fun, it is rollicking, but by the end (and after reading the synopses of its sequels on wikipedia) I just feel like it’s empty, like a jester’s sad bauble-bladder deflated of all air.

Disappointing.

But, if you’re not burned out still on the let-down cop-out ending of a show like LOST, or even the let-down cop-out ending of The Hunger Games series in the books, yeah, whatever. It’s awesome.

The story is about an amnesiac mid-teen boy, Thomas, who gets plunged up in a lift-shaft much like Katniss’ lift shaft, into an, um, arena. But it’s called the Glade, and there’s not too much fighting here. In the Glade there’s a bunch of other amnesiac mid-teen boys who’ve been cooling their heels, chopping down trees, farming, and such-like, for years. They’re surrounded by a massive concrete wall which can’t be climbed (uh, ladders? earthworks?), and “what would be the point of climbing it anyway?” as one character says.

What would be the point of climbing it? Are you kidding me?

OK get over this. Some of the boys run the maze and map it, looking for a way out. Sometimes they get killed by monsters called Grievers, which ‘sting’ people, and they go crazy. Thomas is going to have to figure out a way out of the maze, or something like that, perhaps by leveraging the weird flashback dreams he has about clinical labs and stuff.

So that’s the premise. Yup, love it. It’s like Hunger Games, like labyrinth, like LOST, like the Truman Show, replete with a checklist of features from those stories:

– weird old tech and structures scattered around, branded mysteriously, that seem to have a reason but none is clear (LOST)

– terrifying monster howling out in the distance, that nobody has ever seen (LOST)

– arena, teens, fighting, battles, great pressure and symbolism (Hunger Games)

– young teen/older teen sibling relationship (like Pru and Katniss, Hunger Games)

– thank god no romance! (buh bye Twilight)

– contained world in which (you know it, right?) the people inside are being watched closely (Truman Show, Hunger Games)

etc…

So these are all good things. It takes the first 40 minutes of the story to explain these, and how this Glade works, and I liked all that. Dystopias like this are fascinating for how they work. Look at Hugh Howey’s Wool. Massive amounts of that were a clue-hunt in a grand puzzle, with Howey doling out fascinating exposition of how people could live, and searching for the meaning/purpose behind it.

Huge Howey didn’t disappoint, but The Maze Runner does. I’ll go into the ending after SPOILER tags in a bit, but for now the obvious stuff:

– Climb over the wall!

Why don’t the boys do this? Once you climb over the wall you can see the whole maze. You can see what’s outside, and how to get there. It would be the absolute focus of my day if I was there. The boys do build stuff out of wood, there are plenty of trees, so why not build a massive tower/ladder? Totally it is possible. Failing that, build a massive earthworks. Take all the earth in the Glade and pile it up against the wall, so the whole thing is a slope. If that’s not enough, add ladders on the top. Done.

– Go out and hunt!

They know there are monsters in the maze, but they never take it to the monsters. They send runners out in pairs, basically unarmed. Absolutely, a warrior class could develop in any group of boys, and you send them out to fight. Find out what you’re up against.

– Build more defenses in the Glade.

I can’t fathom why they rely upon the maze opening and closing nicely for their defense. Build up some ramparts around the entrances. Patrol them, leave guards on duty. Come on, guys.

But OK, all that aside, it’s still great fun. The visuals of the maze and the glade are stunning and cool. We easily imagine ourselves there. The teen-angst and in-fighting is awesome, Lord of the Flies obviously, but still great. Acting is great too.

I’m just disappointed by the resolution of the puzzle. If you can get over that though, it’s a cool, surprising, action-packed romp with lead actors that draw you in and make it more real. But it is pretty much empty, like eating only beautiful spun-sugar decorations without any vittles.

 

** SPOILERS **

 

So much is wrong with the ending. Basically, it’s a bluff to keep the kids running a maze of some kind, and keep them super-stressed. But, what? Are they immune to the disease or not?

If they are immune, and this whole program is designed to somehow extract that immunity, how in hell does running a maze and being stressed by that help at all? The plague is called the Flare, in what sense are you testing/immunizing the Flare by running in a maze, and prior to that, living for three years in a glade?

I just absolutely do not buy it. Are they trying to tap and bottle the human spirit? Is that what makes immunity to the Flare? So these kids are not actually immune, they’re potentially immune, and we think that immunity will come out if we run their bodies down and force them to be super-stressed?

Wtf? Who thought that up, and pitched it to financial backers as the best idea? And after reading the synopses of the next two books, it seems this just remains the deal. The kids get stressed and put through the grinder, and somehow magically this makes their bodies produce the new penicillin, or something? What kind of mad theory is that? How is this massive maze, and exceedingly complex and long-lasting plot (3 years and running), involving memory-wiping (why?) in any way the most efficient way to isolate a gene for immunity?

It makes no sense. I can’t roll with it. It will spoil my enjoyment of the next two movies, if I see them, because it makes no sense.

It’s partly why LOST was a failure by the end. They got all the character stuff basically right, and I’m even willing to forgive them ruining John Locke’s redemption, but they never gave a reason for why the island was important, what it could do, why we were all fighting for it. Maybe there was none they could give that would satisfy? But they didn’t even try.

Hugh Howey did it in Wool. There was a reason people got put into silo tubes for millennia, and it was a good one. It made everything else worth it.

Maze Runner doesn’t have that. And shy of that, it’s just a bunch of stuff. Re:

– Why have these kids has their memories wiped?

– Why send up only one girl?

– Why send up a boy who think she was somehow responsible for this?

– Why was he their favorite? What does that even mean?

– Are they immune? Are the adults immune? They seem to be alive also. If they’re all immune (because none of them are dead) what is any of this even for?

– Why progress the maze the way they do? Why send up the blue antidotes, that restore memory? What was that for, at all? If they’re trying to encourage the kids to try and run through the maze, why didn’t they encourage them in this way earlier? Give them a bit better weapons? Why suddenly give them a push now?

– Why send the girl? What is the point of her in the plot? She just exists?

– Why pretend to all be dead at the end? What benefit is there in the boys thinking they’re ‘free’?

Ah sigh. All of these questions may have answers. Perhaps we can even consider them hooks for the next movie/book. But like LOST, I get the unerring feeling the answers will be unsatisfactory. And that’s just not good enough.

Also:

– If the boys think the helicopters were sent to rescue them, then won’t they question why the helicopters didn’t just descend into the glade to save them? Won’t they wonder, uh, guys, you shot up the control room, why didn’t you just turn off the monsters and open the doors? And if they wonder that, which I did immediately, won’t they realize at once that the whole ‘rescue’ is a ruse? And won’t that ruin all the effort WCKD (uh, alcopop) made to make them think it was real?

So, yeah. Awesome visuals. Great fun movements of the story. But deeply unplanned dystopia that underlies it, rendering everything else fancy tissue paper over a turd.

Additional-

I found this article on Vulture that explains some of what is happening in the Maze Runner. The guy read the prequel book, and has some answers. So, essentially it seems to be there were solar flares, which destroyed cities, but then there were too many people for the resources (? doesn’t make sense. Destroy cities would kill the people and leave the Mid-West croplands alive, but whatever), so the new government decided to kill these extra people (? wtf? why not just let them die of starvation?) with a disease shot in high-tech darts from helicopter gunships (wtfffff? makes zero sense. Use bullets or bombs if you must).

So they made the disease, and as total imbeciles, released it. As if it wasn’t bad enough dealing with the actual flares, they made up this new problem, also unimaginatively and confusingly called the Flare (why?), which then went viral and spread. Duh.

Now they spread their disease, everyone is going nuts, so they decide to cure it. Why they didn’t just use a disease we already have a cure for, but people with no resources wouldn’t have a cure for, I don’t know. Drop the black plague on them, if you absolutely can’t use bullets and bombs. If it comes back to us, we can cure it. Duh.

Then, next massive leap, Thomas in the Maze Runner is immune, so we get him to run around in a maze, because cure. WHAT? There is no connection between these two states. If you want his immunity, you had better run tests on him or something. How does risking his life in a maze help anyone? At all? What is that kind of ‘test’ going to do to help make a cure?

I’m done with Maze Runner. Can’t think about its nonsense any more.

 

Comments 61

  1. Jason

    Yes, yes, and yes. Thank you! Perfect review. You nailed everything wrong and right. The ending of this movie is what brought me here. I Googled “the maze runner why didn’t” just hoping someone else would wonder why the f*cking helicopters didn’t just come get them. I kept waiting for one of the kids to just look at the whole maze, as the helicopter rises, and say “What the f*ck?!” “Are you KIDDING ME?!” But yeah. Fun special effects…

    1. Sirious?

      Sirious? Come on bro. Don’t say that if you didn’t read the book.

      SPOILER
      Im an huge fan of the movie’s and books and the reason is:
      Its all a test. It’s WICKED who did that and they need to get their own out of the maze, without any help. But WICKED pretended they helped them.
      So get your facts good before you comment.

      1. Mykola

        No what? The maze seems like a ridiculous waste. First off a maze that large with all those stupid bells and whistles would cost an unfathomable amount of money. If one was created right now it would be one of the greatest structures erected by humans. All those large gears, shifting doors, the complexity of it is enormous. You are telling me that even in this post apocalyptic world where resources are scares they built one! ***ALSO SPOILER ALERT FOR THE NEW MAZE RUNNER*** Not only did they build ONE, they built MULTIPLE MAZES. During the first movie they risk the lives of these kids in these mazes and in the second one its all “do not shoot you can hurt them”. MY GOD NOTHING MAKES A DROP OF SENSE. The more answers I look for the more I get confused.

  2. Jason

    Okay. Just saw the rest of your site. No wonder… Consider me a fan just from your intelligent and coherent review of this damn movie. Sign me up.

    1. Post
      Author
      MJG

      Thank you Jason! Glad you liked the site, and right on, you’re the first person I’ve seen question the helicopters as well. Stuff like this has to make sense, or you lose me.

      I’m sure the movies will be made, they may even have great moments in them like this one did, but I doubt I’ll see them unless there’s nothing else on (which is pretty much why I went to see The Maze Runner in the first place).

      But, as I said in the review, maybe I’m not the target audience. I’m too jaded by other books/shows that didn’t deliver on their promise.

  3. Sulev

    I was thinking all of the things you mentioned.
    And:
    -What were the grievers for? If they just killed the runners, then why bother stinging?(which they do by first catching a person)
    -Why were the grievers so stupid? (for example the bridge scene. If 1 griever would have just rushed/rammed the group, they would have all been knocked from the bridge. Or when Thomas jumped on to the vine covered wall, why didn’t the chasing griever just hit him one of his legs?! and the list goes on…)
    -Why didn’t the grievers just destroy the wooden house where all the runners were hiding? I saw a griever jump through another house just moments earlier.
    -All that i saw in the movie were people surviving by blind luck. So what if they all died? What was the goal? Why was “phase 1” a success?
    -3 days to go from “I can’t remember anything” to escape. Heil Thomas the great!
    -Why would there be code on the last door and why would it be the sequence the maze changes in? And why didn’t that code input display appear when they encountered it the first time?
    -Why did the maze look so ancient?
    -If I would be the first one, I would go and explore the maze and die. And so would the next one… and so on. So what happened?
    -If no one has ever returned, how did they know that there were things hunting and stinging victims in the maze?
    -There is no way our Sun could produce a solar flare big enough to scorch the earth!!!!!

    How could anyone read a book/script and think:”Yeah! This makes perfect sense!” But they did and the movie has already made over 300million.
    Crap sells.

    And i was hyped for this movie, because it was over 7/10 on IMDB. Damn.

    1. Post
      Author
      MJG

      Really excellent points, Sulev. Laid out like that, the mechanisms of the plot just make total negative sense. It’s a lot of cool stuff, but how in any way can any of this provide anything that could help them cure a plague? Knowing that hollows everything else. Without any purpose, all the cool stuff is just empty.

      Argh. I could have bought it if it was, like the Hunger Games, done for an ‘entertainment’ purpose. It is entertaining. But as is, as part of some vague ‘scientific program’ to elicit some vague physiological response, is nonsense.

      You’re also dead right about the code, everything about the grievers many failures, the ancient maze, etc. To add- what were all those spinning paddles for in the outer maze? They only saw them once, was that really worth the effort? Why even need all those various bays for the bugs to go in, why not just have one? In what way does figuring out the revolving pattern of the Griever-doors help getting some physiological response from the kids?

      Ugh. Ah well. We’re supposed to turn our brains off, I expect.

    2. Gmah26

      Omg something nobody seems to talk about is, if the world is out of resources and we are all dying because sun and bla, then why on earth didn’t people just lived in the arena they build. But without. The maze, I mean. , they can. Farm, have water, good weather, and everything,needed for a good farm life but no. They waste money. Doing some. Shitty test.

  4. Austin

    SPOILER ALERT: You should really read the books if you’re going to give a review on a movie. Like The Hunger Games, not nearly all questions were answered.
    Here is the answer to your questions:
    The girl was sent up in experiment A, because in another glade there is one full of girls, where a boy was sent up (experiment b). Experiment A and B merge together in the second novel. Their memories are wiped because the creators, the girl sent in experiment A alongside Thomas, placed themselves in the experiment to see if they had the mentality to go through the maze. The cure to “the flare” is basically to weed out the kids. Only those who have the mindset of overcoming all the obstacles that come before them are those who aren’t victim to the flare. Yes, all the adults are cured of the disease. The third book; however shows diseases civilians in an abandoned city.

    1. Post
      Author
      MJG

      Hi Austin,

      Thanks for your comment and explanation. I can’t agree it’s necessary to read the book in order to review the movie though- the movie should stand alone. There was no usher at the entrance taking affidavits from people swearing they’d read the books. So, everything you say is very interesting background, but doesn’t have any bearing on the movie… Perhaps in the trilogy it will be relevant, when/if these details come out in movies.

      But, still, I don’t get how the mental toughness and/or luck and/or physical agility/toughness required to run a maze and survive mechanical spiders could possibly equate to immunity to a disease. Do the books ever explain this?

      Further, it seems you’re saying (the books are saying) the maze is required just to find out who is immune- is that right? Wouldn’t an easier way to find this out just be to see who dies from the Flare and who doesn’t? If the disease is pandemic, just exposing the kids to the air/other people should be enough to infect them, right? Then we find out quickly who is immune.

      Or is the maze really some way of generating a serum to cure the Flare? In which case I am still lost. How could that work? Plus the adults are already cured/immune, so why not just take the serum from them?

      If you can explain all that (as drawn from the books, that’s perfectly fine) I’ll be very pleased and impressed.

      1. Austin

        My recollection of the novels are a little foggy because it’s been some time since I’ve last read them. The flare isn’t a pandemic based disease, instead its a manifestation of the brain that causes delusions and extreme paranoia. I do believe in the third novel they meet someone infected with the disease, who is on their side. W.I.C.K.E.D. placed all the children in Glade A and B, to see if the kids were able to fight the manifestation of the flare. There are additional obstacles in the next two novels that I’ve forgotten by now (one of which starts out in the second novel where they’re at the military base and they have to escape as those infected with the flare attack the base). There is no “serum” for the flare, it’s simply testing to see who is mentally sound enough to withstand the flare. You couldn’t just see who dies off from the flare because it doesn’t always necessarily kill you, you can continue to live wih it after being infected. The most important characters and puzzle pieces are: the girl sent into glade A with all the boys and the guy sent into glade B with all the girls, and Gally because he remembers Thomas as one of the creators. There is also a prequel to The Maze Runner that further explains the flare as well as W.I.C.K.E.D., I haven’t read it in its entirety so I can’t speak on it too much. You should stay for all three movies, I was satisfied with the trilogy.

        1. Post
          Author
          MJG

          Ok that’s interesting- it’s a kind of mental unbalancing. I’m still not convinced it makes sense. Of course it’s not your job to convince me, but I welcome you to try if you want to.

          Because- if it’s a mental thing, does that mean the kids in the Glade already have the Flare, or not? If they have it, then here’s one way it could make sense. The whole Glade thing is actually a coming-of-age / complex immunization/vaccination thing. the only way to not succumb to the Flare is to have extremely elevated stress levels, or some such. So all humans must run through this gauntlet to survive to adulthood, because it somehow changes their mental architecture enough to make them immune to the Flare.

          This wouldn’t explain why there are any Flare-infected people still alive though. If this is a vaccination program, why wouldn’t all kids go through it? Why would there be any Flare-infected people left? Obviously it has an incredibly low success rate- maybe 5 out of 50? Only makes sense if the Flare itself takes a higher rate than that. Maybe it does. It also doesn’t really make much sense except in a very vague way.

          OK. But then why all the complexity of the kids once being the scientists. How does that work, what’s the benefit of it? Why erase their memories?

          Hmm. If the whole thing is a kind of vaccination which everyone has to go through, maybe it’s OK. The kids are immune until a certain age, when puberty kicks in, and they get infected. So they’re vaccinating them in advance, and only survive. It’s a standard part of life- that would be pretty cool.

          I think to not have any of that in the first movie though, if that is indeed what’s going on, is pretty poor. Thanks for explaining!

      2. Angela

        WICKED is an acronym and the meaning , if youve watched the movie, can be found at the last part, when Ava Paige is explaining the state of the earth. they are the department that studies the killzone part of the brain that the Flare directly eating and the results are the Cranks. Cranks are the people who are inflected by the Flare.

        In the The Kill Order book which is the prequel, due to the mutating Flare, no ones able to identify whos immune or not.
        besides, Katie Mcvoy, the creator of the Flare, stated that if you caught the Flare youll go into a long coma, itll be a painless death, thats why all of the representatives of the countries struck by the Sun flare agreed with it.

        they run over a test and darted the Flare to the villagers, only to find out that it wasnt a painless death at all.

        hihi. I hope i answered your questions Mr MJG πŸ™‚

  5. Jake

    Same thing brought me here. This movie deifies logic!!! I have no problem about how bad the story was presented to us but the back bone of the story. If we look at the big picture here.

    Some apocalypses happen, there are “very little resources” left, we’ve got to engineer a deadly virus without a possible cure, even though we might be potentially infected, to kill of the rest of the population. RITE!!!(I can spell right).

    Oh SHIT! Too many people are either dying or turning into psychopaths that kills other people and spreading the virus.

    BUT WAIT!!! ONE PERCENT OF THE POPULATION(ALL KIDS) ARE IMMUNE. Let’s build a huge maze that in that scarce livable land that needs lots of power to sustain due to constant change of the heavy steel walls.(Wait aren’t recourse scares?O.o)

    By wiping the kids memory and let them run around in stress, fear, and confusion they will magically poop out our miracle cure.(Much logic)

    To make their lives harder lets also engineer these killer monsters that probably is a better way to wipe out the rest of the population instead of a using an incurable virus, or maybe kill of those crazy people so they don’t infect others. but hey I have no logic!

    Most of the “scarce people that are immune to the virus” will “die without achieving anything” but hey it’s all worth it.

    In summary, the world in meeting it’s end and there are little resources left, lets use up the rest of our resources to fuck ourselves and make the future generation suffer.

    1. Post
      Author
      MJG

      “…lets use up the rest of our resources to fuck ourselves and make the future generation suffer.”

      You nailed it. There seems to be an almost endless series of reasons why this movie/book franchise makes no sense. Excellent point about the machine bugs- why not they used to kill everybody? Set them loose to crawl over the environment and wipe out more people.

      Again that wiping out more people thing, after an apocalypse already, makes no sense.

      Massive resources in resource-scarce world, total check. Poop out the miracle cure- beautifully put. But this movie and book is huge, and very popular. Maybe logic is over-rated…

  6. Hardik

    I really liked the review and the (valid) points that you brought out.. The movie was hyped to me, but after watching it, I feel of having wasted some of my precious time. The backbone/reason of the entire story doesn’t make any sense. Started thinking why was this a top seller ???

    The climax speech in movie clearly has a sentence “a deadly virus infecting brain” (showing pictures of black virus, dead people & dead brain parts), which signifies they are pointing towards some biological virus which affects the brain cells.. So the remedy should be an antidote. We see a lot of people alive in this movie other than these kids. (eg. Scientists, rescue team, Sr. management in conf room).. This means all these are immune. If so, take their blood/brain cells/bone marrow/anything else for biological experiment and come out with an antidote.. (It’s common sense, instead of wasting lives and years in constructing this maze and then watching over it. I must say, even in such situations of apocalypse, these scientists have a lot of free time.)

    BTW, if the sun was scorching over the earth, how were they able to pre-plan & prepare themselves in constructing such a huge, complex maze in middle of a dessert.. Won’t places near equator get affected first as they are already hot. How much (& why) did they spend in creating such huge structures.

    The concept doesn’t make any sense to me.. but I will still watch the sequels if they come out, hoping it will try to regain my confidence it it.

    1. Post
      Author
      MJG

      Thanks Hardik- great points you’ve made- I either hadn’t noticed or forgot about the shots of sick bodies by the end. Definitely you’d take samples from those who survived/are immune and use that. And if not, if this disease works differently to every other disease out there- you have to get into that. It’s the reason for the whole plot. To just ignore that, and defer it for other books, is lame.

      As for watching the sequels- good luck with that. From what spoilers I’ve read on books and prequels, it doesn’t seem it ever makes sense. I’m sure it’ll have great visuals and even action, but empty as you say.

    2. Peter Pan

      The dessert was presumably not near the equator, but north or south. But the sun activity has turned a cold climate into a dessert — somehow. Makes more sense but raises the question where all that sand came from. Sand was storeys/floors high!

      1. Post
        Author
        MJG

        ‘Turned a cold climate into a dessert” – mmm, sounds delicious…

        Sorry ;). You make a good point – must be a more polar area- but indeed, where is sand from? Soil can desertify when it loses all its moisture, so perhaps it’s that. But if even a more polar area is reduced to sand, they really are in dire straits. Food probably has to come from hydroponics.

        But, wait- how would the Glade be not sandy? There was no dome. If it was only sand outside, there’d be plenty of sand blown inside as well. And the only way to keep all that grass and trees green would be if they were watering the whole Glade somehow, presumably from underneath (cos no showerhead over top). Again, crazy use of resources…

        1. DeepChicken

          I distinctly remember a time when it rained in the Glade. I think the whole maze construct was at once a test for the boys and the regulator for the Glade’s climate. Somebody above mentioned that the large metal blades were actually used to change the wind or something along those lines. If this is true, the amount of resources used would be astronomical, and directly go against the premise of the environment causing stress for the boys.

          The fact that there was no dome also begs the question of why they did not keep trying to climb out, as you mentioned. The only thing that makes some sense is if the creators made it only possible for them to escape through the specified exit. In that case, I have some more questions.

          If the creators knew exactly what brain patterns and the solutions necessary for the boys to come to in the end, why did they need to do this test at all? They made it way more complicated than necessary AND lost potential research data. No modern scientist in their right mind would throw away integral research subjects in such a way as feeding them to a giant robot spider.

          Why did they not make it all a simulation, like the Matrix? That would at once make the brains react to stimuli and keep their bodies physically safe for further testing.

        2. Ace

          No sand in the glade could be explained with an invisible forcefield. The forcefield could provide climate control.. Just brainstorming here… I dunno

  7. DeepChicken

    I am typing on my phone so sorry in advance.

    I just finished this movie and had the same confusion as you all. My main question concerns the blue serum the girl had in her pockets. Was that not the cure? Was it just a catalyst/cure for the kids because they were special? Did they have that cure made only by the end of the movie, is that why the tests ended with her holding the “finished product?” That might have made sense if there was no phase two and mind-fuckery.

    Also, I got the impression that those kids had no immunity whatsoever, seeing as those weird spider robots killed them with the virus they were supposed to be immune to. The whole time I thought that the monsters were once humans that became infected. When the beeper machine key with a seven came out of the monster, it seemed to be in a humanlike brain: much like the infected brains at the end.

    My main point: wtf this movie made no sense. The people gave them tools which encouraged hunkering down in the glade area as opposed to actually being stressed by the maze. All of the boys lived in total security throughout the thing.

    I can answer one thing though. The bodies were fresh at the end. The swat team obviously only got there recently (even if it was an act) so they could not have rescued them sooner.

    1. Post
      Author
      MJG

      The great points keep coming! Thanks DeepChicken. It’s an interesting point that the Grievers might be injecting the Flare into boys. I don’t know what the point was, though. Isn’t the Flare contagious? Then infecting one boy would cause all the rest to get infected, no?

      Also, I don’t get why they didn’t just kill everyone who was Flare-infected. That’s what they wanted, right, everyone dead? So kill them. The immune continue on. Why bother with a cure if you’ve got a genetic subset of people who are already immune? they just go off and repopulate. It’s what they wanted!!

      The blue serum, yeah, this along with the code to exit the maze just make zero sense. It’s like the gifts in the Hunger Games, but for no damn reason at all. Just there. Absolutely unpredictable what effect it would have. And you are so right that for 2 years, the maze was sitting there ineffectually. They were chilling in the Glade, achieving nothing.

      Good point about the non-rescue being due to the staged attack just happening. Still, even if we believed the staged attack, we would surely question the precise timing. Of all the minutes in all the days for us to break out, there just happens to be an attack that would have saved us right as we exit? And the attackers just left to go wait outside? Weird…

      Also, I still think they would have brought the helicopters in. In the next movie, all the kids from the Glade who were left behind need to be accounted for. Why would they not be rescued by helicopter too?

      1. DeepChicken

        I won’t get into the reasoning for the false deaths and sketchy rescue logic. It is just the styrofoam cherry on top of the cardboard ice cream sundae.

        It never occurred to me that the grieves injected something other than the flare. What was the point in them injecting the boys with anything at all if not to test the flare on them?

        The boys in the glade can be assumed dead. Gally staggered in after Thomas having been stung by a griever, so the others who stayed behind with him probably died.

        I think I figured out some of it. As opposed to an immunity, maybe the boys had a resistance to it. None of them ever directly died to the flare, while maybe the general populace did? I really just don’t understand how the boys were special in any way whatsoever…

        Finally, what exactly were the grievers? If WCKD could genetically manipulate those into existence, why couldn’t they cure a goddamn virus/infection? We’re the grievers stupid or what? At one point it walked over a roof made out of fucking toothpicks. Also, did anyone else wonder why Thomas didn’t just climb up the vines himself to hide with alby? Even more so why the runner guy didn’t just ditch alby after he was stung. It seemed like there was no cure at the time and he would’ve been thrown back into the maze anyway, right?

      2. Angela

        They were sent there for the plotting of the brain activity to produce a cure,(like guineapigs) at the end of the book three, youll see that Ratman, a scientist, will attempt to open the brain of Thomas to produce a cure.

        about the climbing on the walls, cant you see the part when Minho made Thomas see the blueprint of the maze? its the dialogue there like so it means, even when they climbed it up there, therell still no exit can be seen.

        there are some point that is illogically unaccepted:

        If Newt isnt immune at all, why he dint catch the Flare in the glade?
        the thing is, he died on the third book bec he caught the Flare.

        In the book, the whole maze and the Glade is under the WICKED’s headquarters, my point is, sooo theres a Flare that is deadly, why Newt, the only not immune dint caught it. (that in the prequel, the underground laboratory of WICKED caught the Flare, infact they all been Cranks)

        Haha. well. im a fan. but i really love reviews:)

        1. Angela

          *logically unacceptable

          btw, the thing in their brain that the Creators used to prevent their past memories is called the SWIPE. it is also used to plot the blueprint to find cure.
          if you wish to read the other book “The Maze Runner Files” the original creators tend to stop the nonsense thing about delivering munies as guineapigs.

          the reason that theres a maze is to see how they can survive . the purpose of it is to know how they respond on such triggers (problems) the reason they sent Thomas there is bec. the Gladers tend to do nothing, Thomas serves as trigger also. and eventually, turned into a final key at the book 3.

          yes i agree about why create a Flare? Just bomb their ass off and they are surely poof! dead.
          the thing is, they want it to become discreet.

          why create a Flare and eventually, find a cure?
          because regret is always at the end. they regreted doing the Flare and allowing it to burst out.

          at the book 3 , youll know that WICKED is Good ahahahahah

  8. Pizza

    – So there’s like a huge solar flare thing (lets just see this as global warming x 10), then how the fuck do these “rescue” dudes survive it wearing normal clothing (consider the fact that they are also in a desert + some of them stayed behind, they didn’t just come in a heli + dark clothing absorbs heat). They should be wearing some anti thermal crap instead of trying to look like terrorists.

    – How exactly do you find a cure by sending the immune population to fight giant spider scorpion things that poison them ( why not just inject the god damn poison in the lab and test things on them).

    – The world is “burning” and these ppl are in the middle of a desert, and plants and trees are flourishing simply because they’re surrounded by a death wall (the sky is freaking open and fertilizer isn’t gonna do shit).

    – The last part, where they input the code for the red spinning thing, how exactly did that dude know which number the sequence started from, he said 7, how did he know it didn’t start from 1.

    – Government decides to invent a new virus to kill ppl, did the world decide to send all their nuclear warheads to the moon or something?

    – Once again, was this maze designed to be a gladiator pit, cu i don’t see how a place where the walls go flying up and down trying to flatten ppl helps in cure discovery.

    – And what jake said, β€œβ€¦lets use up the rest of our resources to fuck ourselves and make the future generation suffer.” – there’s a world crysis and these intellectuals decide to spend their time inventing a giant spider robot to kill their only hope.

    + an interesting thought, maybe Alby wasn’t the first, maybe the first couple of hundred ppl actually just used their head and tried to explore the maze and died trying.

  9. makenna

    Every question I could think of, you nailed it. The movie made no sense to me. I don’t understand why so many people are obsessed with it. The Hunger Games on the other hand, was a very good movie because it explains everything and is well thought out. This movie seems like some random story line that no one really thought through properly, and just threw some interesting events in to make it sound cool.

  10. Petros

    Outstanding review! I felt the need to comment too lol.

    At the helicopter scene I thought why didnt the helicopter just fly in and save them, but then when the lady at the end says time to go to ‘phase 2’ and I realised it was a trick, I still wandered how no one in the Glade would have not ever seen a helicopter in the sky. Also yes for sure why didn’t they have a ladder to climb out? even if not to climb out but to put inside the maze for late runners coming back to climb up and into the glade rather than have no option but to stay and die in the maze. Also… Anyone notice how the spider things climb walls yet none climb over into the glade…

    Another ‘minor’ note… How the hell would a group of kids with no adult direction learn how to be successfull farmers and start gardening and surviving for 3 years…

    Another thing, if They have no memories of anything and only know how to live in the minimalist survival environment they are in, how are they not freaked out when they see electricity powered lights and all the tech in the control room, and how does the main runner guy know that the gun is a weapon and kick it away… If he knew it was a weapon why not take it to defend yourself in this unknown area full of dead bodies ! ???? – and yes how a stick house seemed to keep this big robot spider that seemed relentless to kill them from getting to them is part of the many mysteries this film bares.

  11. Petros

    I like how in a ‘constantly shifting rediculously massive maze’ they are able to finish mapping it perfectly and have a beautiful little model on a table covered in a bedsheet in a secret hut in the middle of the Forrest haha! – and then when they visit section 7 and walk through the blades a little bit find theres an area he has “never seen before” .

  12. Joshua Nunn

    It’s almost embarrassing that there’s so much written here when so much of what you’re saying is wrong! There are currently four books in this series and I’ve read them all TWICE, so hopefully you value my opinion over someone’s who just read the synopsis on Wikipedia -_-

    They said they’d tried climbing over the maze, and in both the book and the movie, the exit is in a spot that could not be discovered by overhead travel, so it doesn’t matter, and knocking the walls over just seals the exit. Furthermore, the whole Glade is INDOORS. The sky is fake and never changes colour. The only time it changed colour was in the book when the maze doors started to open and the grievers began to come in. Anyway, it being inside explains why there were no rescue helicopters (even though they were a trap anway).

    The people who put them in there were testing the strength of their minds against different “variables”. They knew which ones were immune and which were not. The whole point of this this is to study brain patterns of the immune to compare against those who are not immune, and then to do a full autopsy on a final candidate in the end, who proved to respond the best and survive all the variables.

    The disease used to kill instantly, but then began to mutate. It was never supposed to drive people mad in the first place (man made disease that was very impulsively used for population control when the sun flares caused resources to drain quickly). That’s why the non-immune survived a whole three years, because the disease lived in you for so long before showing symptoms. And the sudden stop in new gladers coming up and grievers entering the glade was a way to hurry them up to solve the maze before the Flare took full effect and so that the non-immune could move on to the test after the maze, the Scorch Trials. The “rescue” helicopters bring them there. :3

    Good to get that off my chest. I understand your aggravation with all the repetition in all the new books, but I, personally, think The Maze Runner series is just as, or even more so captivating. If you believe otherwise, then you should probably read the rest of Dashner’s books and argue a topic you know something about. A fifth one is coming out in 2016 as well, so be ready for that.

    *SPOILER*

    Newt is not immune and Thomas has to kill him

    1. Alisha P.

      OH MY GOSH I AM LATE BUT THANK YOU SO MUCH. YOU TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!!! THIS IS WHAT I WAS THINKING I’M SO HAPPY SOMEBODY ELSE THINKS THIS TOO

  13. christine

    To be fair, the movie did stray very far from the book. A lot of things were changed. The reason they couldn’t climb the walls originally, is because in the book the ivy really didn’t go all the way up, and later on they found out there was an artifical sky over the maze where it never rained and it was only sunny, or night time, unlike the movie where the weather was legitimate and the sky was real. They explain in the books that the reason they conducted the trials, was to observe the brains of the immune. Since the Flare targets the brain, they needed to closely observe brain activity of those who weren’t affected by the Flare. At one point *spoiler* they even wanted to take Thomas’ brain so they could better observe it. Thomas had superior brain activity throughout all three of the books. The movie explained basically nothing. The reason they sent up only one girl, is because she was a variable. They did the same with a boy, in a maze full of girls called group B. Thomas was a variable, the doors not closing towards the end were a variable, the grievers attacking the gladers in the glade were a variable. All of these variables were used to test brain activity. I highly reccomend reading all four of the books, especially the prequel which helps explain the loose ends. I can pretty much answer any question you have and try to help clear up any confusion. The Maze Runner is one of my favorite series, and I’ve read the books more than once. πŸ™‚ Hope I cleared some stuff up.

    1. Daniel

      I get the justification used for why everything happened. The reason I hate the series is there must be a thousand better ways which are less costly and have less danger to valuable test subjects.

  14. Mr. Quincy

    I’m through with the franchise for a different reason, although I agree with a lot of your issues with this movie. I didn’t take it too seriously when I was watching it. It was a fun movie with an initially interesting premise. Problem came in when I looked up the sequels of the book and realized this is one of those anti-human movies, screaming “we have to kill everyone because… global warming! There is absolutely no other solution!” I’m so tired of that dumb shit.

  15. Kannan

    Agree with all the comments. Can’t imagine how an entire group of human beings can get together to make a movie like this with absolutely no logic.

  16. Sarah

    Okay. I got a question…. When thomas says (in a vision)that he’s tired of watching these people die. It showed them drowning in his vision after he injects himself with one of the grievers tail or claw. So… Are the people dead???

  17. skye

    I really am glad others asked the same questions to themselves about this movie.
    Since every pro and con is listed Ill give an opinion on the “why so dumb in some aspects”.

    When these producers and directors get together to make an American movie they truly think we need things either dumbed-down or they can squeeze in dumbness without anyone caring.

    Check the web out there are a ton of actors American and non that are quoted in saying “Americans need movies dumbed-down”.

    Also from a money marketing point of view. As dumb as a movie may seem if the numbers are in the black they’ll think its what we want….oh well.

  18. Sirious?

    Climb over the wall!

    No. No no no. In teh book they say ‘The ivy don’t reach as much up’
    So please, firsread the book before you give say this. Also, The Hunger Games i just a rip-off from Battle Royale tbh. But okay, it’s your opinion. I just wanna say, they explain -almost- everything you said here.

  19. me

    One other “hole” was that it was obvious to me to try and climb OVER the wall? Why was this not addressed…plenty of ivy to climb up and they had a tall structure they could have used as well…. Climb up on the wall and walk across. Why wasn’t this addressed…??? Seems so easy….and obvious.

  20. wth is going on in this movie

    @Sirious @christine, did you even read what MJG wrote? Ok try to forget about your thoughts on the ivy/vines for a moment and imagine that these boys had access to something (anything) else, like DIRT from the ground, or TREES, you know like MJG suggested?.. Or perhaps ANY plant matter, like lets pretend they had some vines/ivy that you could EASILY ATTACH TOGETHER to make ropes/bridges etc with? That would have been sweeet..

    Testing them? Lets not forget the fact that the MAJORITY of the group NEVER even went into the maze to begin with and just lived in the glade, for all we know in the other mazes they NEVER went in at all.. ALSO, I think from what I saw and understand the majority of group had NO say in what went on (due to the group hierarchy) meaning putting them in there as a group to ‘study’ their brains was completely unnecessary, and giving them Sudoku puzzles under stressful conditions (like the potential loss of an appendage) in a group environment (anywhere at all) would have been just as effective at studying their ‘problem solving during stress abilities’ (if thats really what they were doing?), more so seeing that (as I already mentioned) barely any of them went into the maze to begin and didn’t have a say in ANYTHING other than when they scratch their own arses.

    So what test results did the non runners and kids that were not in charge have?? Likely they had no results at all worth studying compared to what they could have through some VERY simple problem solving on paper or on a chalk board,,,, unless of course all those kids DID? give helpful results worth studding? which begs the question??? Why the hell not just drop them into the woods, or onto a deserted island and study their survival skills there??? Surely it would be just as effective or even more so, since once again, most of the kids did NOTHING in the glade, simply survived for three or more? years and… Yep that’s about it. Did nothing else.

    and putting the kids that are immune? resistant? to the flare in there, directly into harms way when they could have done ANY OTHER TESTS defies all logic to me and obviously many others.

    Many movies have you suspend your disbelief, at least for a time and at certain moments, as to make the movie enjoyable and to try to remain logical and within reason, but after analyzing the first two over and over in my mind, and reading others thoughts, it is obviously very hard to suspend that disbelief with the Maze Runner franchise when the entire thing apparently defies all logic and reason through its entirety.

    Until further evidence comes forth for the contrary I believe it to be an overly elaborate, unexplainable, and completely unnecessary maze, an elaborate, unexplainable, and completely unnecessary plot, an elaborate, unexplainable, and completely unnecessary ending, elaborate, unexplainable, and completely unnecessary tests on the kids…. and honestly must I go on.

  21. Riley

    Bollocks!! What test? What variable? What if Thomas had died in the “field trials”? I went in with zero expectations, and I was intrigued by the whole Glade scenario. What followed could not sustain the interest. Ending was a big let down. Some fans have given explanations from the book. They seem too far fetched. Nonsense, honestly.

  22. Dan

    I just finished watching the second movie and found myself asking “What the was the point of the maze in the fist movie again?” So, I took to the internet for answers because I couldn’t remember what the explanation was in the fist one, if there were any to begin with. How does James Dashner even have the gall to put this idea in writing. That that these kids are humanity’s last hope but they are put into this maze/glade thing, whatever, with a very high probability of death. I mean honestly how does this guy look people in the eyes with a straight face. Some of the other stuff you bring up is really good but I can get over. Risking the lives of the ******* human race though to die in the maze? It’s downright irritating that I needed to vent somewhere. Thank you.

  23. Amado

    Sometimes it’s ok to make a movie that doesn’t try to explain everything if you yourself, the writer, doesn’t have it all figured out. See that old movie “The Cube” (just the first one) as an example.

  24. Amado

    Just to clarify my above comment… I’m not saying this movie should get a break — I’m saying the writer should have just left it as some weird mysterious Maze that ends with them escaping and doesn’t have to be a trilogy that makes no sense.

    I agree with this review 100%

    1. Post
      Author
      MJG

      Yeah I think I agree with this. I don’t think not explaining would make this movie ‘good’, but it would probably make it better than it currently is. There are just too many weird things – with the main driving plot question being- ‘what the hell is going on?’ for them to not offer any answer at all.

      But I also think about Star Wars, and midichlorians, and how that was more than anyone wanted. You’ve got to walk the line.

      I agree with you about Cube. Good movie, infuriating that they don’t explain, but it works.

  25. anonymous

    Hello. Even though many of your points are right, th epoint of climbing the maze is actually explained in the book. the maze is not open from the top acc. to the book. also in the book they are rescued in a bus.Wonder what the filmmakers thought. So yeah,just thought its better to tell u.

  26. art

    Wow. Im glad theres a lot of people who thinks the same about these movies. Just when i thought the “five tribes” in Divergent was an absurd idea, here comes this movie, the biggest nonsense-festival i’ve seen in my whole life. What did just happen? it supposes Dashner was involved into the adaptation. Does him was so blinded for the money that he just said (turn his eyes into $$$) -Deal!! lets make this story more fantastic than Neverending Story/Alice in wonderland, more apocalyptic that Hunger games/Divergent, much more intriguing than Lost (which btw i absolutely loved it) !!!!

    Just want to add:

    All those zombies (cranks, hm what a name for a zombie…), wich is the purpose of having them alive ? Wicked easily could send his grievers to killed them, right?

    -Wicked somehow controls the actions of the grievers, so could make the same with the cranks, using them as guards of the maze? Which leads to one point, that doctor has mental issues. Want to find a solution to a virus by the most complicated way. If a were the president of that Wicked Nutguys, i just build a squad of killer robots, send em after every zombie, and Baam!
    Too expensive? well, i just send a few nuclear attacks. Not friendly for the environment? well, i think must exist a deadly virus which cure we already own. Is it Too boring? well, ok. Lts build this colossal maze for our boys, itll be a good exercise, some of them are chubby.

  27. Naya

    But bruh, the reason they stressed them out in the maze was because the symptoms of the virus only presented, in non-immunes, when the mind was constantly under duress. Because the virus was airborne, everyone was already exposed. Those who weren’t immune, their symptoms were exacerbated by stress-related brain activity. Yeah it’s ridiculous to create a whole new virus to release on the populous, but tbh, the actual world’s governments and researchers have been doing that for, well, as long as modern medicine and science have existed. It’s not a plot hole if it actually happens.

  28. billy

    the cure doesn’t give them their memories back. Being stung does. The cure just allows them to live to tell about their memories.
    Source: i watched the movie.

    Have no reason to watch it again. Ever. Made no freaking sense and I’m glad it wasn’t just me.

  29. Alisha P.

    I’m sorry but I feel like you just did either did sloppy reading or sloppy research on some sections though other sections I agree with you. You ask for the purpose of the grievers, not realising that there is one. The grievers were obstacles and tests to see how the munies and non-munies would react. It was all part of WCKD’s mad research and data collections. You also said they could have just hunted for them. Easier said than done since they could have just as well been incapable or just too scared. There are plenty of conslusions out there that are fair and reasonable towards your comment. Another thing you said was why didn’t they just climb on top of the walls and find their way out to the griver hole. Firstly, grievers could climb on the walls — they were clearly able to; the scene with alby and thomas in the maze states that. Therefore it would be far too dangerous. And even if they could cimb and search upon the walls with ease, in the book the griever hole was invisible. The only reason they figured it out was because they followed a griever and finally knew. In the movie however that is debatable. Lastly I have a question. If they are at a time where technology has advanced in astounding ways, why hadn’t they learned how to go to the moon or whatever. They were alsso so sneeky, sneeky enough to steal a ride on the flat trans. Why didn’t they? I might be missing something buf those are my questions. I really like this post though πŸ˜€

  30. kkretzmer

    You obviously have not read the books. Once you read them everything becomes much clearer. I honestly don’t understand how you can review something without all the facts.
    Read the books, the missing details are in there.

  31. April P.

    I found this site very funny and not so smart. First of all, your review is not constructive. But I’m not expecting much from you. Based on your “review” you’re not valid to make these comments. Because YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK. You won’t have to ask these things if you did. And you can’t make constructive criticisms about a film because I know you never have an experience in the film industry. You’re not setting realistic expectations about the movie at all. Seriously? You’re gonna describe effects as “cool”, “awesome” Wow! Hahahaaahaaaha You didn’t even include technical terms and such that needs to be improved. Lol. I’m gonna tell you this.. “PLEASE! NEXT TIME, DON’T WRITE A REVIEW ABOUT SOMETHING YOU KNOW LITTLE ABOUT” Write about other things.. SENSIBLE things, okay? πŸ™‚

  32. Victor

    The whole story makes no sense at all. Even if you read all the books. The maze has no function or purpose. Constant stress, lol… The only thing, that would deliver constant stress, is the fact, that they put together teenager boys without the presence of any girls. Well, that would stress me… πŸ™‚

  33. WTF

    Seriously, get your facts before you blame the books. First of all, the helicopter was pretend. It was all part of wicked. Second of all, read the freaking book! The movie doesn’t make much sense, but the book does. In the book, the maze in underground, so they wouldn’t be able climb up anyway, and so there wouldn’t be any helicopters.

  34. Debbie

    If one took the trouble to read the books, and if I remember correctly, the movie actually messed that part up, in the book the maze was underground and completely artificial, the sun, the rain, everything was provided, and also in one part of the maze runner the sun doesn’t ‘set’ or ‘rise’ or something, they make it quit moving regardless.
    And the way I understand it the way the tests are supposed to help us cause the flare attacks the brains emotion center, so they are taking the immune ppl and stimulating the emotion centers by running tests to get the markers that make them different. It’s been quite a while since I read the books (including the prequel) and have avoided watching the movies because of that, otherwise all the stuff they messed up bugs me more and ruins my enjoyment.
    Some of the questions you ask in here I also wondered at too though, like why not use a disease that’s curable, except in the prequel i think they did, but it mutated and resisted any attempts at fixing. The disease turns this into an interesting post-apocalyptic zombie story.

    Also the farmlands didn’t have enough water to water them cause the solar flares burned it all up?, and starving ppl get desperate and riot and attack those with the food. Can’t think of anything else right now

  35. Kerig

    If I hand you a book and $34 Million dollars and say “please make a visual adaptation of this book”, and you leave out so many key points that the overwhelming response from fans becomes “you have to read the book to understand the movie”, then guess what? Your visual adaption that you spent $34,000,000 to make was a failure in regards to telling the story properly to an audience who didn’t read the source material!

    Telling me that I have to read 5+ teen-based sci-fi books in order to undertand its Hollywood adaption to film is about as logical as J.J. Abrams saying he’s going to release a Star Trek Klingon movie spoken entirely in Klingon with no subtitles. If you want to see it (and actually understand it) in the theater, you’ll simply have to learn Klingon.

    tl;dr: If the movie doesn’t tell the story completely/correctly, it’s not the reviewer’s fault; it’s the creator’s fault. (see what I did there? I made a stupid Maze Runner pun, and I never even read the books)

  36. India Kiely

    We know it’s a test… we’re wondering why? What are they testing them for? What’s the point in this specific incredible elaborate test? I mean even if their immunity only somehow comes out when they’re stressed, you could do that by exposing them to normal danger – point a gun at their head or something.

    No need for all of the over the top stuff in the Maze Runner. The plotting just feels lazy to me.

  37. Philip Worthington

    Just saying ‘they needed the maze is the bit that makes this so frustrating. Why a maze?

    To be honest, I think the writer just started with a phrase ‘Wicked is good’ and worked his way backwards, writing nonsense to justify nonsense.

    The only saving grace is that the movies seem to be going their own way, and I hope they find some reason why building huge complex mazes is the best way to cure a disease. Surely a society so rich in resources and time to be able to build mazes like that would just build a big wall and keep the diseased people on the other side.

    Ugh, the idea that anyone thinks this series makes sense just saddens me, is logical reasoning a dying art?!?

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