‘The Maze Runner’ Is The Most Underrated YA Franchise: Here’s Why You Should See It

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*This post is spoiler free

Maybe it’s just me, but for some reason it seems like The Maze Runner and its second installment The Scorch Trials are some of the most underrated book-to-movie adaptations in the recent YA obsession. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love The Hunger Games books and the films that have grossed over $2 billion (making it the 16th highest grossing film franchise of all time).

But The Maze Runner definitely deserves the same recognition. For some reason, it seems like its competitor Divergent and its subsequent sequels are getting all the hype that The Maze Runner deserves in equal amounts.

In case you really haven’t heard much about this latest manifestation of YA dystopia, The Maze Runner begins with an intriguing premise: a teenage boy named Thomas finds himself at the center of a huge labyrinth, with no memory of his past other than his name. Thomas shows himself to have unmatched knowledge of the labyrinth as compared to his peers (who also woke up there with no memory). He earns himself the status of “Maze Runner” and is convinced he can find a way out.

Sound interesting? Here’s why you should totally get your butt in a theater or read the story in its original book form. 

The stories carry excellent character development and heart-stopping action

They started off, like so many YA films do, with the books. I read The Maze Runner series a few years ago and was instantly hooked. There were secrets, twists and turns and action on almost every single page. If you like adrenaline, these are the books for you.

What was also great about The Maze Runner is that the characters are developed into fully developed humans throughout the course of the series. They don’t end the book as just snippets of personalities; you become attached to each and every one of them as they try to navigate through this world elegantly and intricately created for them by author James Dashner.

The movie’s cast is fantastic

The cast was also perfectly chosen for the film adaptation with multifaceted actor Dylan O’Brien (of Teen Wolf fame) as Thomas, leading the way for the “Gladers.” There are other well-known actors in the films such as Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Patricia Clarkson and Aidan Gillen. The franchise also introduces new talent in Ki Hong Lee, who, as Minho, strongly represents his character. So, with all of this talent, why are people still so skeptical about this franchise?

It’s like the YA version of ‘Lost’

Many critics seem to link the unresolved plotline in the first installment to why the film was received with mixed reviews by audiences. However, if you have read the books you understand that the unresolved plotline is actually what makes this series so interesting. Think of The Maze Runner like a YA version of Lost. You aren’t supposed to know everything. You are figuring everything out at the same time the characters are.

The movies and the books are practically identical

Many book-to-movie adaptations deviate from the written plotline in order to increase the entertainment value and to add in additional growth for characters (ie: Divergent series). The great thing about The Maze Runner is that deviation is slight and almost unnoticeable at all. Simply put, it’s not necessary. The books themselves were written well and the characters and entertainment were already there. Author James Dashner set up a world that was begging to be made into a film.

The Scorch Trials, the second installment of the franchise, opened September 18, 2015. It has been generating good reviews with many critics saying it’s even better than the first installment. Featuring new and interesting characters, this film is providing the audience with even more action and twists. I just hope that with this release people will begin to appreciate this book-to-film adaptation and elevate it to the pedestal it deserves to be on.

About The Author
Colleen Seambos