The Maze Games
Having woken in an elevator which emerges in the middle of nowhere Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) barely knows who he is let alone how he got there. There is a glade which is home to a group of boys who like Thomas have woken up there having no idea how they got there. And surrounding the glade is a towering concrete maze which is inhabited by cyborg monsters. But whilst the boys have found a way to survive, living off of what they grow as well as supplies which appear every 30 days along with a new addition to their group things change when Thomas survives the night having gone in to the maze without permission. Then a girl appears in the lift and the monsters which had previously never entered the glade attack them there leading to disharmony as Thomas tries to lead those willing to follow through the maze and to safety.
I remember as a young man playing a game on an old games system, think it may have been a Sega Mega Driver or even an Atari 800, where your character awakes in a place with no idea how they got there but to survive and escape you had to solve a series of clues, complete various tasks and avoid some danger to complete the level and then it would start all over again on a new level. That is basically what "The Maze Runner" is, it is one of these types of games but dramatized in to a movie and whilst nothing more than a popcorn movie it does the job.
As such what you get in "The Maze Runner" is the mystery of how these people got there, the tasks which include exploring the maze, dealing with danger which ranges from something which stings them, turning them crazy, to the cyborg monsters in the maze. All of which leads to are boys going on a daring mission to escape, battling monsters on bridges, using codes to unlock doors and so on. About the only thing different is a weak attempt to deliver into the mind one of the boys who despite being tough would rather hold on to the system and way of life they had created in the glade rather than attempting to escape and having to deal with change and danger.
But as I said "The Maze Runner" is a popcorn movie and as such we have an appealing young cast lead by Dylan O'Brien who is backed up by the recognizable faces of Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Will Poulter. We also have plenty of special effects from the towering concrete maze with its huge mechanical doors to the cyborg monsters which are like some over grown robotic spider scorpion mutation, And the whole thing ticks over at a decent enough speed so that it never gets too heavy as there is always another moment of action or drama just around the corner, quite literally in the maze.
What this all boils down to is that "The Maze Runner" is a nice enough movie which is made in a style intended to appeal to the same audience who enjoyed "The Hunger Games". Whether that familiarity of being another "Hunger Games" style movie will end up being a negative for some is another matter but as popcorn entertainment it works.