Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Just like a villain that you love to hate, “The Maze Runner” leaves you angry, sad, confused and wanting more.

The story, though not fully explained until the end of the film, follows a group of boys who wake up in a giant maze with no memory of their previous lives.

The boys must work together to find every shred of evidence to figure out where they are, who put them there, why they were put there and how they can get out.

“The Maze Runner,” which is based off the popular book series by James Dashner, opens this Friday.

The film begins with a boy, dazed, confused and breathing heavily, trapped in a creaking elevator that is rapidly heading to an unknown destination.

Due to the fact that the movie starts with no background information, it was difficult to piece together the plotline as the film progressed.

Though the plot was hard to discern, the cast, which is full of familiar faces, delivers a moving performance. Dylan O’Brien (“Teen Wolf”) who plays Thomas, Will Poulter (“We’re the Millers”) who plays Gally and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (“Love Actually”) who plays Newt were especially noteworthy.

If one buys into the post-apocalyptic idea and trusts the confusing and limited amount of information provided, it is easy to understand and feel the pain and suffering of the characters due to the incredible acting.

O’Brien delivered a phenomenal performance as Thomas.

His performance started out a little too forced and dramatic, but the more comfortable Thomas became in the abnormal society, the more natural O’Brien became.

Thomas quickly assumed the position of an outgoing leader in the group and O’Brien had the heart and soul to back this leader up.

Poulter’s performance was a stark contrast to his comedic role as an awkward adolescent boy in “We’re the Millers.” In “The Maze Runner,” Poulter showed a much more mature and serious side.

One of the best performances, second only to lead O’Brien’s, was that of Brodie-Sangster.

Many will recognize this baby-faced actor from his role as the endearing and love-struck boy in “Love Actually.”

Though his role in “The Maze Runner” is entirely different, Brodie-Sangster still manages to bring some of the same clear-headed and mitigating qualities to his character.

Brodie-Sangster’s character Newt is a level-headed and mature leader, qualities that do not match his appearance. For this reason, his performance was both surprising and refreshing.

Though the gripping cast was able to create a relatable tale that tugs at the viewer’s heartstrings, the plot itself was hard to follow.

As a result of the characters themselves not knowing where they were or what their purpose was, movie-goers were left dazed and confused as well.

I left the theater feeling simultaneously emotionally drained and on an adrenaline high which left me confused and not knowing what to think.

Not a movie for the faint of heart, “The Maze Runner” is filled with fast-paced, shocking action sequences that at times make you want to close your eyes and curl up in the fetal position out of fear.

Nonetheless, the movie is an entertaining watch if you can get past all the sci-fi action.

The movie may not be as confusing for those who have read and are fans of the book series.

However, as with many movie adaptations of books, the film leaves something to be desired. 

For example, additional character and plot development could have made the film much more engaging and gripping.

Though the characters and the story could have been more developed, the camaraderie and chemistry among the boys sends a clear message about determination and working together to overcome adversity.

The film has a clear metaphor that relates this post-apocalyptic world to today’s society.

Brodie-Sangster’s character, Newt, says it best: “What matters is who we are now and what we do now.”

The film itself is a gentle reminder to go out and shape your own life instead of waiting for your life to shape you.

– By Annie McNutt, Staff Writer