Director: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario
Category: Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Country: United States
Duration: 94 minutes
Thomas leads some escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions that the Gladers have been asking since they arrived in the maze.
Maze Runner The Death Cure movie review: Alas, if only they’d found a cure for boredom instead
Maze Runner The Death Cure movie review: The final movie in the young adult trilogy is neither as satisfying as Harry Potter nor as campy as Twilight, but for its fans, that shouldn’t matter.
Director - Wes Ball
Cast - Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Walton Goggins, Barry Pepper, Patiricia Clarkson
Rating - 2/5
The Maze Runner trilogy finds itself in a tough spot. It hasn’t ever come close to achieving the success of, say, the Harry Potter series – although no film series based on kids’ books has, really - but it’s worth pointing out it hasn’t been as disastrous as the Divergent Series either. Realistically, for the Maze Runner movies, even touching the Twilight Saga and the Hunger Games films seems aspirational at best.
Based simply on this information, the very fact that Maze Runner: The Death Cure exists – considering especially the unfortunate circumstances surrounding its production (more on that later) – makes it deserving of at least a firm handshake, or an awkward bow, or maybe even a hug. By most standards, finishing a young adult film series in today’s day and age seems to be as impossible a proposition as a parent commanding an actual human teenager to obey their most unreasonable demands and succeeding.
So for that, for overcoming increasingly difficult odds, for meeting the exact specifications that make Hollywood executives shudder with uncertainty – mid-budget YA sequel of a mid-range franchise staring at a dwindling fanbase – Maze Runner: The Death Cure is, at least for the folks that grew up with it, a satisfactory conclusion. But for the rest of us, it’s unfathomable. But that’s not this movie’s fault. It makes no sense for a viewer to jump in on the final installment, and it shouldn’t be the movie’s responsibility to fill curious wanderers in – in fact, it is usually quite annoying when sequels do that.
That does, however, leave us in an uncomfortable place. In honesty, I don’t recall too much about the first couple of movies, and it doesn’t help that this one comes a full three years after the last. Again, that’s not the movie’s fault – it had a lot going on. It’s lead actor, the very pleasant Dylan O’Brien, met with a horrific accident on set that forced the production to shut down for several months. What we have here is a film that was supposed to release a year ago.
And under the direction of Wes Ball, who hasn’t made films outside this series (but will probably go on to have a very successful career in Hollywood), the third Maze Runner is a solidly put together action movie. The set pieces are competently choreographed – which I realise isn’t the most effusive thing to say about a film, especially since a lot of it seems to have been inspired by the dystopian lunacy of Mad Max: Fury Road and – particularly the opening sequence – by the controlled chaos of Fast Five. As far as the story goes, you’re either on board or you’re not, at this stage. The Gladers have escaped their Sisyphean existence and have got to the bottom of the evil plan which made them the test subjects in an elaborate attempt to source a cure for the ongoing apocalypse, led by an ominous corporation. Don’t worry, it made no sense to me, either. But that doesn’t matter, at least until such time as it stops making sense to the core fanbase, too. And as far as that is concerned, your guess is as good as anyone’s.
What we can objectively discuss, however, is the filmmaking, which, for the most part, is totally fine, but better directors than Wes Ball have balked at the task of sustaining a movie for over two hours, and Maze Runner: The Death Cure comes dangerously close to two-and-a-half. That’s way too long. Especially since this is the sort of movie that involves more than the usual number of characters, multiple locations, several parallel plots running at conflicting levels of pace and quality, and one very grotesque looking Walton Goggins as the villain type. That’s a recipe for disaster in the hands of director who isn’t experienced with tight storytelling – and more often than not, Wes Ball… stops rolling. Is this as disappointing as the final Hunger Games movie? No, it most certainly isn’t. Is it as bad as one of those Taylor Lautner solo vehicles? Nope. But is that a reason to recommend it? For the third time, no.
Watch the trailer for Maze Runner: The Death Cure here