MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE: A (Mostly) Fond Farewell
Maze Runner: The Death Cure wraps up the series nicely, and despite any plotholes, it doesn’t completely fall apart. With this genre producing so many duds in recent years, there are worse concepts to spend your time enduring.
After some delay, the third and final film in the Maze Runner trilogy has finally been released. Each movie thus far has captured a different section of the dystopian young adult story, and with this newest entry we get to witness the end of our heroes’ journey.
In the first and second film there was no gap, which made for an exciting transition, maintaining the adrenaline produced along the way. As far as young-adult franchises go, Maze Runner always seemed like sort of the black sheep to me, but in a good way. It was never perfect, but it had its charm.
While the first entry was mostly regulated to the inside of the maze, and the second to the scorched remnants of the immediate outside world, Death Cure expands upon its predecessors’ scope.
Some time has past, and immediately upon its start we’re thrust into an action-packed kind of heist with heart-pounding intensity. The high octane first scene brings us back into the series with a jolt. While the same level of excitement might not be maintained, it is still a must see for fans of the franchise.
For The Greater Good?
These are high stakes, not only for the possible ending of civilization, but also for the characters involved. Those from the Glade, originally introduced in the first film, are back including: Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and even a surprising reentry from their past. There are also the newer additions, characters introduced in The Scorch Trials: Brenda (Rosa Salazar), Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and Vince (Barry Pepper).
Of course, the story wouldn’t be nearly as significant without Dylan O’Brien’s Thomas, who viewers have followed since his first trip up in the elevator.
They grow up so fast.
After Teresa’s (Kaya Scodelario) betrayal in the last film she’s back with WCKD, working on finding the cure and doing whatever it takes for this discovery. Much like The Hunger Games, a similar notion exists of sacrificing the few for the betterment of the many. Rather than for the sake of entertainment this is excused because these children, the immune, have the capacity to cure the world.
Is it worth it?
That question is thrown around a lot, in varying directions. Our villain, Dr. Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson), manages to thaw her cold exterior at least a little here, and Janson (Aidan Gillen) fills her place as the most hated WCKD employee. Minho, along with several others, were taken at the end of the Scorch Trials, and Thomas insists on getting him back. While the idea that so much should be risked for one person seems a bit far-fetched, it is an admirable sentiment.
Besides the obviously evil and powerful WCKD (or are they?) there is also the looming danger of cranks; the outcome of those who have succumbed to the Flare virus. They are basically zombies, but more of the 28 Days Later variety versus a Night of the Living Dead. The effects and design of these, including those infected but not quite feral, is fully formed. Walton Goggins even has a small role here, as one such unlucky character.
One Last Ride
It is decided that the group needs to venture into the rare Last City, unscathed and surrounded by high walls. This is no easy mission, and with the help of unexpected allies, they find a way.
Thomas is convincingly brave but never completely realized, suffering from memory loss, so we are suckered into the same fate. There are some answers that aren’t provided, a loss surely; it would have tightened the narrative. O’Brien still manages to keep you entranced, as does the supporting characters, especially his female love-triangle cohorts.
All of the action, even in the final act, which at times borders ridiculous, is executed well. I expected a big bang, but with the over two hour run-time some of the build up is effaced. It’s not all physical punches, but emotional too. Moments exist within Death Cure that are genuine, implemented by a talented young cast, but occasionally this is stunted by tired dialogue. The adults especially seem to get the brunt of the lackluster lines.
Director Wes Ball, who has done all three, has clearly improved upon his craft with each movie. While not the best, his direction invites promise for future endeavors. Writer T.S. Nowlin, who also penned the other two, shows a consistency here. All three of these movies have their own vibes, but they were able to keep a connection to the characters at the heart of the story, melding them together.
Conclusion: Maze Runner: The Death Cure
As a fan of the books by James Dashner, there were changes made and things left out, but nothing too distracting. When I consider a film that has been adapted, I think of it as a separate entity. If not – I feel as though I am guaranteed disappointment.
In the end, Maze Runner: The Death Cure held up its bargain to entertain, while giving these characters a quality send-off. Not without its flaws, there is enough to appreciate if you’re willing to look.
Even without knowledge of the books the ending isn’t particularly surprising. Nonetheless, I think the series wraps up the story nicely, and despite any holes, it doesn’t completely fall apart. A lot of themes are explored. It is a concoction of honor, friendship and hope. With this genre producing so many duds in recent years, there are worse concepts to spend your time enduring.
How did you feel about the ending of the series? Let us know in the comments below!
Maze Runner: The Death Cure was released on January 26th in the US and UK. For all international release dates, click here.
“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.” Read the Letter of Solidarity here. Make a donation to the legal fund here.