Maze Runner: The Death Cure: Film Review

There haven’t been a lot of movie adap­ta­tions of young adult books com­ing out lately. But we’ve just closed out an­other pop­u­lar book-to-film adap­ta­tion with “The Maze Run­ner: The Death Cure,” the third and fi­nal in­stall­ment of the post-apoc­a­lyp­tic se­ries based on James Dash­n­er’s nov­els.

Thomas (Dy­lan O’Brien) 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.

Giancarlo Esposito, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Dylan O'Brien, and Rosa Salazar in Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)

As far as young adult novel adap­ta­tions go, the “Maze Run­ner” se­ries is­n’t that ter­ri­ble. That be­ing said, I’ve never been a huge fan of the “Maze Run­ner” films, sim­ply be­cause they are very for­get­table. The orig­i­nal film back in 2014 was­n’t that en­ter­tain­ing, es­pe­cially with a ter­ri­ble end­ing and the 2015 se­quel “The Scorch Tri­als” was just a dry fol­low-up that could’ve been bet­ter. Thank­fully, “The Death Cure” is­n’t split into two parts and it does give an end to the fran­chise that fans will en­joy. Still, even af­ter a three-year wait, I can say that I’ve never been in­trigued by this fran­chise at all.

The film’s bright spot was def­i­nitely the ac­tion. Di­rec­tor Wes Ball does know how to film im­pres­sive ac­tion se­quences. He should be do­ing a lot more ac­tion films in the fu­ture. “The Death Cure” opens up with a 10-minute res­cue mis­sion that I re­ally latched on to. Any­time any­thing ex­cit­ing is hap­pen­ing, it’s be­cause of these scenes, and they’re well-han­dled in “The Death Cure.” All of the ac­tion in this in­stall­ment is ten times bet­ter than in the pre­vi­ous two.

O’Brien re­ally is one of the main rea­sons each film is watch­able. He proved he was a ca­pa­ble ac­tion star with his per­for­mance in last year’s “Amer­i­can As­sas­sin.” He car­ries the en­tire movie as Thomas, even if the film it­self is just “meh.” I wish he was in a bet­ter movie to show­case his skills. The film halted pro­duc­tion af­ter O’Brien got into a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent while film­ing a stunt in 2016, and it’s good to see him back.

Giancarlo Esposito, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Dylan O'Brien, and Rosa Salazar in Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)

Be­sides O’Brien, we’ve also got Thomas Brodie-Sang­ster, Kaya Scode­lario, Gi­an­carlo Es­pos­ito and Rosa Salazar also re­turn­ing, and their per­for­mances weren’t bad. Are any of their char­ac­ters de­vel­oped? Not re­ally. Pa­tri­cia Clark­son and Aidan Gillen re­ally don’t have much to do. And how dare they waste a good Wal­ton Gog­gins per­for­mance? That’s a shame if you ask me.

The story it­self is­n’t any­thing new. Prob­a­bly the rea­son why I have such a dis­taste for the “Maze Run­ner” fran­chise is that they just don’t make me get at­tached to them. Re­turn­ing writer T.S. Nowlin does what he can, but noth­ing was very strong this time around. “The Death Cure” takes it­self a lit­tle too se­ri­ously. Though the plot is ba­si­cally about find­ing the cure to the Flare, a zom­bie-like virus, the film also in­cludes a res­cue mis­sion to save one of their friends in the mid­dle. I also must ad­mit that I haven’t read the books. It would’ve been nice to be caught up be­fore the film even started.

To be hon­est, when cer­tain char­ac­ters from the last film showed up, I’d to­tally for­got­ten who they were. And the movie def­i­nitely started to stretch out to­wards the third act, right around where the cli­max should start. It touts an un­nec­es­sary 142-minute run­time that kept up a mild pace, and it gets bor­ing.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, and Dylan O'Brien in Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)

“The Death Cure” failed to have an emo­tional im­pact as the end of the se­ries. It al­most felt like it was set­ting up an­other movie, but it’s the fi­nal movie. Un­less they’re plan­ning a pre­quel in the fu­ture, I don’t know.

As it stands, I went into “The Death Cure” want­ing it to be an ex­cit­ing and re­deem­ing end to a se­ries that I was­n’t so fond of be­fore. But as it turns out, “The Maze Run­ner” fran­chise is­n’t go­ing to be one that sticks around in my mem­ory as time goes on. At least this is­n’t any­where near as bad as the mediocre “Di­ver­gent” se­ries. I’m also im­pressed that Ball di­rected all three of these movies. But, just like the first two films, “The Death Cure” is go­ing to end up be­ing for­got­ten, not giv­ing off enough clo­sure for the se­ries.

Maze Run­ner: The Death Cure” fol­lows the same pat­terns that pre­vi­ous in­stall­ments had, failed to get me in­vested and re­solv­ing to a bland con­clu­sion.

Grade: C

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