The Maze Runner (2014)

maze runner poster 2014 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Not horrible

Generic, non-distinctive teen story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Maze Runner

Studio:  Gotham Group

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  September 19, 2014

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


We’re in a maze…and we’re running!

A young man (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in a strange compound called the Glade with no memory of his past.  Recalling his name is Thomas, Thomas learns that there is maze surrounding the compound, and Thomas wants out.  Thomas find opposition from those who don’t want him to rock the boat, but Thomas also learns that he must recover his past to find out the secret of the maze.

Directed by Wes Ball, The Maze Runner is a sci-fi fantasy film.  The movie adapts the 2009 James Dashner teen-fiction novel.  The movie received mixed to positive reviews and was a box office success.

Teen fiction is huge now and began with the broader success shown by even younger books like Harry Potter.  With so many films in similar vein, The Maze Runner feels like a hodgepodge of other novels and it feels like it is seeking its own identity.


One girl…a bunch of teenage guys…better keep that sword handy, lady

The story is both original and derivative.  It feels like Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games (more so than Battle Royale) meets Ender’s Game.  The other books and movies are rather distinctive and developed their characters a lot better, and unfortunately, The Maze Runner has to be compared to them since they obviously evolved from them (though The Hunger Games really sprung forth at the same time).  It is a really dark story, but it also feels like it should be darker.

The cast isn’t bad.  With Dylan O’Brien keeping the story going.  I have liked Will Poulter (who plays Gally) in other films and actually wish he had a bigger role.  Also good is Thomas Brodie-Sangster who is proving to be a developing and popular young actor.  Patricia Clarkson has a small role in the film that promises to be a bigger role in the sequels.


Wow…a generic spidery-robot thing…

Visually, The Maze Runner is also nothing special.  The movie doesn’t look very distinctive and isn’t stylized.  That is both good and bad (I often think movies try too hard to be stylized), but it maybe should have been in this case since there are so many other movies and books in the same vein.  Plus, many of the big scenes take place in too dark of locations…leading to confusion.

The Maze Runner neither wowed nor bored me though the story has little resolution (and for that matter makes little logical sense).  It was a very average movie that teens will probably enjoy and parents will feel safe allowing them to see it.  There is violence but very little language which of course is necessary in every teen movie.  The Maze Runner was followed by Maze Runner:  The Scorch Trials in 2015.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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