The rules of engagement have changed in the ongoing push-me/pull-you of tentpole filmmaking, especially when aiming at the oh-so-important young adult demographic. That is a very business-minded opening sentence for a review, but these days, when you're making a film like "The Maze Runner," it is a very business-minded endeavor. If you get one of these movies right, you buy yourself the room to make two or three or however many more. Casting is a huge part of that, as is the way you bait the hook for the larger franchise.
Wes Ball's background is in animation and effects, and he certainly has an eye for composition. Thankfully, he doesn't just lean on visual flash in his debut feature, the adaptation of the first of James Dashner's four books, and his skills allow him to build a convincing world around his appealing cast without losing them in it completely.