This second in the series certainly has a bit more to it than the first. Mind you, that isn’t saying too much. This is a thinly constructed, somewhat weak bit of SF that appeals to younger boys, but not much else. It has its moments and a couple wonderful action scenes, but the story and script are contrived and loaded with tons of assumptions and leaps of logic.
The cast, however, does give it its all. From Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario (Maze Runner) as the main “couple” and their supporting folks including Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones), Nathalie Emmanuel (Furious 7), and Rosa Salazar (Insurgent). Opposite them, Patricia Clarkson (The East), Aidan Gillen (Mayday), Lily Taylor (Almost Human), and Alan Tudyk (Trumbo) show us a rather corrupted adult world. This is not an untalented cast with many, many awards between them (and with several links to Game of Thrones), but they certainly hooked their horses to an oddly weak wagon.
Admittedly, the source material for these movies isn’t particularly strong either, but there were opportunities to make it better, and they were all squandered in exchange for special effects. If you think I’m hating on this film, you’d be wrong. It isn’t so much that I hated it as I hated the missed opportunity to do it well. It has potential in both story and resources, but the producers took the easy path… and in doing so weakened their chance to build a franchise. The final flick will still likely get made, but they’re already losing audience, the same way Divergent has due to similar reasons. Writer Nowlin should never have been given all 3 films. And director Ball tried to build his entire reputation on the same weak material. For both, the trilogy is their foray into the main roles behind the scenes.
Whether you spend a couple hours in this rather cookie-cutter world is up to you. I’ve certainly seen worse, but I’ve also seen much better.