"...but you kids won't last one day out in the Scorch"
I left this film exactly how I felt after watching the first one. The film's action sequences have improved over its predecessor, and also its visuals & suspense. Its even got decent humour, too. But there's something with this film that just couldn't hook me in. Firstly, almost none of the characters are even appealing on their own. Secondly, the plot tries to hide a lot of the reveals...but even then, it never really came.
As a film, a lot of the experiences improved vastly. The action sequences were better, occasionally coupled with fast-paced suspense on certain scenes. Towards the end, it gets kind of repetitive whereby these main characters are somehow still in the phase of exploration & discovery - but on their own, the action sequences are fun & suspenseful to watch. And the visual effects also improved significantly. I was quite surprised by the scope & scale, and how well done the setting of the Scorch is. Credit to the team for that.
There's the occasional humour that works, too. Mostly, I find them quite funny & witty as well. But the plot holds too many things back, and the whole film suddenly feels very straightforward and substandard. There's a big twist towards the end - a good twist, but I don't feel too shocked or concerned. Which is why I'm crediting the book for the good twist, but I'm blaming the film for not making me feel it.
And much like the first film, a lot of the film has been a straightforward run towards finding the answers, before suddenly ending abruptly by answering little, and leaving the rest to hang. I know people may argue that this is a 3-part saga, but leaving a lot unrevealed and unexplained is just too much to ask after two films. Audiences need to be fed bits and crumbles to keep them invested in the adventure.
And then most of the characters remain uninteresting. I find only Jorge (played by Giancarlo Esposito) as the most interesting character with some charisma & witty dialogue. Janson (Aidan Gillen) makes for quite a good villain as well. But none of the others are even slightly interesting. Not the main protagonist, not the girl, not his friends, and not even the WCKD boss.
This is why all this film had is some very interesting moments & scenes, coupled with some decent action sequences with vastly improved visuals, but not a story nor characters that could get me invested and excited to join in on the adventure. Again, the film's not particularly bad, but I'm just not looking forward to the inevitable sequel of this saga.