Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials received mixed reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 46%, based on 147 reviews, with an average rating of 5.41/10. The website’s critical consensus states, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is an action-packed sequel at the cost of story, urgency, and mystery that the original offered.” Metacritic gives the film a score of 43 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of “B+” on an A+ to F scale.
The main criticisms of the film were its narrative, particularly its changes from the source material, and lack of character development. Forbes said the film suffered from “middle movie syndrome”, claiming that it did not offer an introduction nor a finale. The Wrap stated that, “it doesn’t offer much plot or character development”. Stephen Kelly of Total Film said, “Scorch Trials ambitiously opens up its world with mixed results: gripping action, so-so script.” Walter Addiego of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “there’s lots of eye candy, and the pace is fast, but somehow the movie falls short.”