The young-adult genre has seen many entries in the dystopian film landscape. Author James Dashner’s Maze Runner series has seen two films to this point, and with the release of the new film Maze Runner: The Death Cure, we can see how this trilogy comes to a close.
Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends are living outside of the Maze, and they are doing everything to rescue kids WCKD is trying to eliminate. Their rescue attempt succeeds in freeing some but fails to save their friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee) from WCKD’s clutches. But Thomas isn’t ready to quit.
As the battle against WCKD rages on, Thomas, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) will push forward together to take another swing at their enemy regardless of the cost. They’ll need help to breach the fortress known as the Last City, and along the way that help will come from unlikely sources — maybe even from someone they thought was long gone.
In addition to rescuing Minho, the group must find a cure for a plague known as the Flare. Will Thomas get his friend back and stop the WCKD train from moving forward, or will the same folks who put them in the Glade ultimately emerge as the winners?
I’ve had mixed feelings about the series. At times it felt like an outlier in the genre. The latest film has the genre at its core, but it feels more like a boilerplate action film. From the opening sequence, before The Death Cure part of the title even graces the screen, it is clear that we are going to be moving at a breakneck pace.
It’s a welcome pace. The film crosses the two-hour-and-20-minute mark, and without nonstop action it would drag. Instead the film keeps moving, though it could have used a bit of a trim in the editing room. Scary sequences may bother younger kids, as those infected with the Flare resemble Walking Dead-like zombies.
The returning cast keeps the film relevant, but unlike some sequels, I really think you need to have seen the first two films to connect with this one. So much of the story, especially Thomas’ relationship with Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), is enhanced when you have knowledge of what went on in the first two films.
At times this film feels like it could very well be a Hunger Games or Divergent sequel, but make no mistake: Maze Runner has its own identity and a heartfelt love-and-loyalty angle of its own.
I enjoyed this film. Despite the fact that much of it was telegraphed and unrealistic, it played well on the screen. Ultimately that is all that matters. Maze Runner: The Death Cure finds its way out of the genre to exit its series with a bang, and although not perfect, the journey is rewarding for fans of the series.
Paul’s Grade: B-
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Wes Ball
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