It’s easy to throw The Maze Runner in with the rest of the Young Adult fiction boom, and it’s probably mostly true, it is a YA book, it does seem to have made in a response to the money being trucked in by Twilight and The Hunger Games but there’s a world of difference here and much of it centers on having a male character be the center. The Maze Runner has a stronger focus on action and gives much less attention to establishing characters. Perhaps this is serving someone in some demographic but it feels too soft to be a real action movie and too hard to contend with the other YA franchises.
There are only three characters in The Maze Runner that I would need to use more than just “The <blank> Guy” to describe. This isn’t unheard of in movies but it’s a serious problem when the female lead falls in to that category (she’s The Girl Guy) along with almost every ally of Thomas, the hero. There are people who stand by him the whole way and seem to be some of his most trusted friends that I’m not even sure got named in the film. It’s hard to get invested in the climactic battles when the kids being thrust in to harms way feel like 80% red shirts. It’s also a bad sign for a franchise when two of the three characters that feel the most complete die in the first film. They’ve left a lot of heavy lifting for the sequels.