The Maze Runner

Student Name

Instructor’s Name



The Maze Runner

Description of the Film

The Maze Runner is a science fiction action film. The film was directed by Wes Ball, produced by Lee Stollman, Wyck Godfrey, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, and Marty Bowen, with a screenplay by Grant Pierce Myers, Noah Oppenheim, and T.S. Nowlin. The movie stars Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, and Patricia Clarkson. In the film, a group of young people is sent to live in a community isolated from the rest of the world to secure them from a deadly disease called the Flare. The community is surrounded by a giant maze, which the children must enter to find a cure for the disease. The film follows Thomas (O’Brien), a young man who arrives in the community and soon becomes a leader in the quest to escape the Maze (Ball n.p).

Film’s Popular/General Audience Review

The Maze Runner was a commercial success, grossing $348 million worldwide in 2014 (McNary para 4). It was generally criticized positively, with praise for its action sequences, acting, and themes. The Maze Runner had a mixed reception from critics. The film has received a rating of 51%, based on 210 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, (Rotten Tomatoes). The critical consensus of the cite reads, “With strong acting, a solid foundation, and a thrillingly dark approach to its young adult protagonists, The Maze Runner stands out from the crowded field of YA sci-fi adventures” (Rotten Tomatoes n.p). On Metacritic, the film scored 51 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews” (Metacritic n.p). Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “B” on an A+ to F scale (Brodie-Sangster, Gillen and Scodelario n.p). Critics praised the visual effects, direction, and acting but criticized the screenplay and pacing.

Response to the Popular Review

I found the Maze Runner to be a fascinating and well-made film. I agree with the author’s assessment of the technical aspects of the film, as well as the strong narrative. The film does a great job of establishing mood and tension, and the scene analysis was particularly well done. I particularly enjoyed the scene where the main character, Thomas, tries to solve the Maze. The viewer is on the edge of their seat, rooting for Thomas to locate a way out of the Maze. The scene is expertly shot and edited, and the acting is top-notch. This scene is an excellent example of the film’s ability to create tension and suspense. This scene significantly furthers the plot and establishes the character’s determination and intelligence.

Maze Runner is an excellent film for several reasons. The acting is robust across the board. Dylan O’Brien, in particular, does a great job as the lead character, Thomas where he conveys a wide range of emotions and really makes the audience care about his character. Its visuals are awe-inspiring evident by well-designed maze and very suspenseful scenes. Maze runners’ story is also engaging. I was always curious to see what would happen next, and the twists and turns kept me guessing. Overall, I think the Maze Runner is a well-made and exciting film, and I would recommend it to others.

Academic Discussion of the Film

Dr. Katherine S. Young conducted a peer-reviewed discussion of The Maze Runner in The Science Fiction Studies Journal. In her forum, Dr. Young examines the film’s themes and how they relate to the science fiction genre (Young 566). She also discusses the film’s treatment of gender and race (Young 567). The author argues that The Maze Runner is a successful science fiction film because it uses the genre to explore universal themes like human nature and the fear of the unknown. She also praises the film’s treatment of gender and race, which she argues is more progressive than most science fiction films.

Author Michael D. Hill also argues that the film is a “visually stunning” and “intelligent” work of science fiction that “explores themes of human cooperation and sacrifice” (Hill 552). The author praises the film’s “well-developed” characters and “complex” plot and notes that the film’s ending “leaves the door open for further sequels” ” (Hill 554). This focuses on the film’s themes of survival and human nature, its use of the post-apocalyptic genre, and its violent treatment.

A peer-reviewed discussion of The Maze Runner can also be found in the journal Science Fiction Film and Television. In the article “The Maze Runner and the Dystopian Young Adult Film,” author Sarah E. Boslaugh examines the film’s themes and how they relate to the more significant genre of dystopian fiction (Boslaugh 33). Boslaugh argues that The Maze Runner is a successful example of the dystopian young adult film, a subgenre that has become increasingly popular in recent years. She notes that the film’s themes of survival and escape are common in dystopian fiction and that it’s setting – a maze – is a metaphor for the characters’ challenges. Boslaugh concludes that The Maze Runner is a well-crafted film that effectively utilizes its genre conventions to tell a story that is both entertaining and thought-provoking (Boslaugh 48).

Response to the Academic Discussion

The first thing academic critics usually discuss in the Maze Runner is the film’s use of symbolism. Critics have noted that the Maze is a symbol of the trials and tribulations the characters must go through to find their way out. They also refer to the fact that the characters are all teenagers as another symbol of the coming of age they must undergo to find their way in the world. While the symbolism is undoubtedly one way to look at the Maze Runner, I do not think it is the only way. I also see the film as a commentary on the human condition. The characters are all struggling to find their way in a confusing and often scary world. They are forced to rely on each other for support and guidance, and in the end, they all find a way to survive. 

I think the value of an academic analysis of the Maze Runner is that it provides a different perspective on the film. It’s easy to get caught up in action and the film’s suspense, but when you step back and look at it from an academic perspective, you can see all of the different layers the film offers. Widespread criticism is typically more focused on a film’s entertainment value, while academic criticism is more focused on the film’s artistic merits. For example, a famous critic might say that the new blockbuster movie is “a lot of fun,” while an academic critic might say that the same film is “visually stunning.” 

Differences between Popular and Academic Criticism

There are a few critical differences between widespread and academic criticism: Widespread criticism is typically more focused on a film’s entertainment value. Widespread criticism is personal and vibrant and also short and detailed while literary criticism focuses more on the film’s artistic merits and it is objective and analytical and also long and more detailed. These differences can be seen in how widespread academic critics approach the film “The Maze Runner.” For example, famous critic A.O. Scott of the New York Times says that the film is “a lot of fun.” In contrast, academic critic David Bordwell of the online journal Observations on Film Art says the film is “visually stunning.” While both critics enjoy the movie, Scott is more focused on the entertainment value, while Bordwell is more focused on the film’s visual aesthetics. 

The differences between widespread and academic criticism are not necessarily indicative of quality. Both forms of objection can help viewers understand and appreciate films. However, it is essential to understand the differences between the two states to know what to expect from each.

Works cited

Ball, Wes. “The Maze Runner.” 2014., Sarah. “The Maze Runner and the dystopian young adult film.” Science Fiction Film and Television, 8.1(2015): 33-48. https://doi:10.3828/sfftv.2015.8.1.33Brodie-Sangster, Thomas, Gillen, Aidan, and Scodelario, Kaya. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.”, Michael. “The Maze Runner. The Journal of Popular Culture,” 50.4 (2017): 852-854.

McNary, Dave. Box Office: ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Dominates With $62.6 Million Internationally. 2018, “The Maze Runner Reviews.” 2022. Tomatoes. The maze runner.

Young, Katherine. “The Maze Runner: A Science Fiction Film That Gets It Right.” Science Fiction Studies, 42.3 (2015): 566-569. https://doi:10.5621/sciefictstud.42.3.0566