If the original Maze Runner was a cross between Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games, this next instalment, based on book two of James Dashner's young adult trilogy, channels Mad Max and Divergent - the fight for survival now takes place among demolished cities and desert landscapes.
The first film was all about getting out of The Glade, a field surrounded by massive concrete walls, and a constantly changing maze.
In an underwhelming finale, Thomas (O'Brien) and Minho (Ki Hong Lee) led the remaining survivors out of the Maze, and they were whisked away by soldiers in helicopters. We also found out that solar flares and a virus that turns humans into zombies have destroyed Earth, and the only hope for humanity is to discover an antidote.
Dr Ava Paige (Clarkson), who ran the Maze programme, believed the answer could be found in a genetic abnormality present in Thomas and his friends, who are believed to be immune to the virus.
Any hope of salvation you felt at the end of The Maze Runner quickly dissipates in The Scorch Trials, as the six "saved" Gladers find themselves in a large industrial bunker run by Janson (Game of Thrones' Aidan Gillen), with Thomas immediately suspicious about what is going on.
Before you know it, they're on the run again, brimming with confidence and turning into a formidable group of rebels, and in search of the mythical Right Arm group of revolutionaries, who live in the distant mountains.
To get there, the Gladers must battle terrifying zombies, survive electrical desert storms and seek help from outlaws who would happily sell them back to Paige.
The premise isn't as intriguing as the original, and again we're drip-fed information, but there's a real sense of urgency and desperation. Thomas must make snap decisions to save his friends but, no matter what the Gladers do, evading Paige seems impossible.
Though not quite The Hunger Games, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials isn't far off.
Director Wes Ball keeps the ball rolling at a cracking pace, veers into horror territory with gruesome zombie action and, though the characters don't really develop, elicits genuine performances from his young cast.
With a neater, more satisfying ending this time, Ball delivers, and leaves us curious about what's in store for the Gladers in 2017's third instalment.
Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Wes Ball
Running Time: 132 minutes
Verdict: Intense action and great performances keep this adventure rolling.