Following up from last year’s finest example in YA mediocrity, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials picks up from where The Maze Runner cryptically left off. The second part in James Dashner’s best-selling young-adult science fiction trilogy, The Scorch Trials follows Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow escapees from the maze, as they contend with the powerful military organization WCKD across the ruins of America. Those who survived the first film have all returned along with several new characters played by Game of Thrones Aidan Gillen and Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito.

Wes Ball returns to the director’s chair and despite the issues the first film had in terms of feeling like an extended prologue, Ball proved to be extremely capable for a first-time director. He knows how to get the most out of a miniscule budget, and at the very least The Scorch Trials looks pretty exciting. Whether screenwriter T.S. Nowlin can give the story any momentum and start answering questions is another thing. Still, I’m willing to give the franchise another shot and given the sizeable box office take of the first film, it looks like plenty of others will too.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials opens September 18th.