Maze Runner ditches a bunch of things from the book that are better dispensed with, like Thomas’ unexplained telepathic connection with the girl, Teresa, and the magic space-hole they jump through to escape the maze. But it also leaves some gaping holes in the process. After half the Glade-dwellers escape through the maze, leaving Gally and his followers behind, and taking a device that lets them open a door in the back of the maze, they have to fight off an army of Grievers—monstrous bug-things with mechanical spider legs—to get to that door. Then, on the other side, they find their minders all dead and a video message from the Creators’ leader, Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson), with a bunch of information about a worldwide plague and a series of sun flares that left the world in ruins, necessitating a survival program to test a bunch of kids and turn them into survivors. And then Gally appears out of nowhere, babbles about how they all “belong to the maze,” and shoots Chuck—after having found his way through a maze he’s seemingly never entered? And fighting his way past all those Grievers how, exactly? It’s a phenomenally stupid plot development, all for a little pathos at the end of the story.
And the question of how the hell he caught up with everyone isn’t the only dangling plot thread. In the midst of worldwide devastation, how were Ava and her group able to build a training facility the size of a large city in order to handle a few dozen kids? Why do the Gladers say no one’s ever seen a Griever and lived, and that Grievers only come out at night, but not seem surprised when Ben shows up stung? It’s clearly happened before, but how could it, if Grievers never leave survivors, and are only out in the maze at night, when none of the Runners are? Were all those scientists really just playing dead on the floor for the maze-runners to find, like Jigsaw at the end of the first Saw? And why, after that pile-up of confusing and unbelievable developments at the end, would anyone be panting to see how the cast handles the much less interesting and unique setting of a standard apocalypse scenario?