Awakening with amnesia in an isolated community raises awkward questions.  

Who am I?  What am I doing here?    

Don’t expect the most important answers to come quickly and don’t expect them to be in depth.  They’re
often vague.  An intriguingly dramatic character driven story about self-actualization unfolds in Wes Ball’s
2014 "Maze Runner," the first installment of a sci-fi action trilogy based on James Dashner’s novel.  
Viewers identify with the main character, Thomas, played by Dylan O’Bryen as he seeks to rediscover his
lost memories while uncovering the secrets of the maze surrounding him and his fellow Gladers.  They
encounter giant man-killing spiders known as Grievers.   

Beyond the maze lies a fast-paced and suspenseful story in "The Scorch Trials," the continuation of the
saga.  An epic quest for survival ensues while Thomas and the Gladers, Teresa, Winston, Minho and
others set out across a landscape rendered apocalyptic by the suns waves and a rampant disease.  Our
heroes don’t know who to trust or where to turn in their search for those willing to fight against WICKD, a
corrupt organization.  Viewers are in for an intense and heart pounding ride.    

Which is the better movie?  I’m the Ranting Usher.  Welcome to an edition of Vs series.  Let me talk you to
your seat.
 
The first film in any trilogy always benefits from its originality, showing audiences something they’ve
never seen before.  While presenting stark similarities to the "Hunger Games" franchise, "Maze Runner"
offers unique character motivations. Thomas strives to retrieve his lost memories and understand the
world around him although amnesia seems like an awkward device to use to carry out the plot.  From the
beginning until halfway through the movie, viewers are left just as confused as he is.  That’s not
necessarily a good thing.
 
"The Scorch Trials" does an excellent job of briefly recapping what has gone on before by showing
Thomas being taken away from his mother at a young age before being thrust into the maze.  Pacing
quickens as the story shifts into the present and the film delves straight into an action sequence.  
No time to answer any questions.  No time for exposition.  A serious and exciting tone is set.  Viewers are
already enthralled in the first five minutes.
 
The first "Maze Runner" demonstrates a major character arc as Thomas slowly transforms from a clueless
“new arrival” to a bold risk taker who changes the Glader's way of thinking.  He convinces them to accept
him as their leader.  

Danger and deceit lurk around every corner of the sequel.  "The Scorch Trials" contains so many new
dangerous elements and challenges that audiences are not concerned with exposition or whether or not
the characters change.  The film slows down enough to allow the characters to evoke tender emotions
and discuss crucial plot points before throwing zombies, zombies whose bites are contagious.  Viewers
are excited and frightened of what might happen next.  

I appreciate that directors and screenwriters take their time developing the characters and the setting in
the first "Maze Runner," but far too much time is spent drawing out the amnesia.  It takes so long for
viewers to grasp what the story is and what it’s trying to do.  

That is why I believe "The Scorch Trials" is the better movie.  Viewers are already aware of the film’s
substance.  There’s no wading through an unfamiliar fog in search of the essential elements that are
crucial in establishing a central character.  We know who Thomas is and understand his motivations
when he realizes he and his crewmembers are victims of WICKD.  The anticipation viewers experience
waiting to see what new direction the story will take is so intense they can’t help but become immersed
in the second chapter.  

How rare it is for a sequel to outshine its predecessor.
I'm the Ranting Usher.  Let Thomas and I protect you from the Grievers and the zombies and
let  me talk you into a riveting trilogy.

Do you agree with my review?  Which do you think is the better movie?  Let me know in the
comments section.