“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is the most action-packed installment in the franchise, giving us a gripping conclusion to the “Maze Runner” trilogy.
Set in a dystopian world plagued by a virus that turns humans into flesh-eating zombies, “The Death Cure” follows Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), among the survivors who are immune to the deadly Flare virus. Thomas plans to infiltrate WCKD, an organization formed to find a cure for Flare, in order to save his friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee) who has been captured to become subjected in WCKD’s series of inhumane experiments. Unbeknownst to Thomas, his rescue-a-buddy mission will spark an all-destroying revolution, and that he has a larger role to play in humanity’s survival.
Given the long delay of the new “Maze Runner” film, moviegoers might want to take a refresher on the first two films to fully appreciate “Death Cure”. I’ve seen both “The Maze Runner” and “Scorch Trials”, but still found myself fumbling through the “Death Cure’s” wealth of dangling storylines. Doubtless, it is more enjoyable if you’ve made certain you’re kept up with the previous films first.
Not that it matters much. The film is an exhaustive barrage of gun-fights and car chases, almost as if it’s actively keeping itself from being a snooze-fest. Conversations toward the midsection of the film are insufferably dragging, and it doesn’t help that the events from the previous films have all but been lost. Thankfully, the film redeems itself with a gripping climax riddled with legitimately good and inventive action sequences. Sure, the bad guys have bad aim and the good guys—hulking tweens imported from the CW—are conveniently skilled at evading bullets, but at least the high-octane action keeps you awake.
Interestingly, the antagonists are more appealing than our enraged teenage heroes. The enemies are more fleshed-out, and it’s easier to know where their motivations come from. In fact, the enemies are the ones who present a moral dilemma; Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) has no qualms with WCKD’s inhumane experimentations if it means a likelier chance for humanity’s survival. Janson (Aiden Gillen) aided Ava in her cruel tests, and also believes in the organization’s intentions. And though it can be argued that she’s among the film’s good guys, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) betrayed her friends in the hopes of finding a cure for the virus. The baddies are doing bad things rooted from good intentions, which gives the film a distinct dynamic that makes its baddies more interesting to watch than the deadpan, uninspired, and incredibly careless good guys.
“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” served as a fitting close to the franchise. I wasn’t expecting much from the storyline, but the intense action gives us a satisfying conclusion to the story that has left us hanging longer than we can withstand. Which is to say: I’ve had my fill of Apocalyptic YA movies for now.