Some of my favorite stories are those made up of little more than an effective, simple concept, a core cast of enjoyable characters, and a stimulating conflict. It’s the kind of set-up that both horror and indie romances do well with, though science fiction generally works on a grander scale. Wes Ball’s directorial debut, The Maze Runner, takes a small, locked-room mystery and weaves it into the fabric of a much larger narrative, though it’s one that you’ll have to wait until the sequel for. Because yes, we’re in the big wild world of YA dystopian novel adaptations, and these kinds of tales come in packs of three or more.
I say that with only the slightest sense of cynicism, as I enjoyed much of what The Maze Runner has to offer, and am surprisingly excited to see author James Dashner’s successive novels unfold on the big screen. Though there are problems to be found—the dream sequences are particularly awful—the smooth and tension-laced pacing makes spur-of-the-moment arguments seem irrelevant from one scene to the next. There’s always something better waiting around the corner here.