Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the most over-cooked and uninspired entry yet, wasting perfectly good characters on action cliche after action cliche. Wes Ball concludes his trilogy on the weakest of notes.
Wes Ball concludes his Maze Runner trilogy with The Death Cure, a disappointing and deflating cap to an otherwise decent YA series adapted to the big screen. Star Dylan O’Brien continues to give the franchise his all, despite Ball’s painful direction and a script that throws away most of the build up on a third act action spectacle that’s over-cooked, too long and almost unbearable to watch.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure picks up where The Scorch Trials left off, which has Thomas, Newt, Brenda and others fighting against the evil organization known as WCKD. This seedy group was behind the maze trials, in hopes of finding a cure to the deadly virus known as the flare. For some reason, the kids hold the key, which is why WCKD is snatching them up left and right and testing on them without remorse.
The Death Cure promises what its title suggests, a cure to the flare and an end to this all-out war that has killed hundreds of kids and adults. Thomas and his gang hopes to put a stop to the founders of WCKD and live peacefully off the grid, while also maybe curing the flare altogether.
Wes Ball sort of shocked me with The Maze Runner — a film that I had no idea about, yet really enjoyed. The first film was full of mystery and suspense and promised a larger world that these characters could venture off into.
The Scorch Trials opened up that world and gave us new scenery, a new villain and even more new characters to join the gang. Things started to look up for what I was once calling my favorite young adult series, yet The Death Cure burns those bridges instantly, ruining that creativity and progress-building.
The Death Cure feels like a hefty film that doesn’t really say anything. Thomas is back in a familiar setting with familiar friends and familiar bad guys, only this time they pump up the action to ten, but by pumping up the action I simply mean inserting explosions galore and killing off random characters to try and create some emotion.
Nothing feels natural, aside from maybe one scene, while the rest of the film feels like excess fat being flubbed around for the sake of exploiting the audiences connection with these characters and this series.
Nothing about The Death Cure feels sincere or needed and feels instead like a forced third entry because that’s just how this business works. I’m not sure why three-peat director Wes Ball decided to trade in his focus on compelling characters in a unique situation for yet another action-fest that’s too darkly lit and full of skimpy CGI bits.
Most of the film’s “twists” are easy to spot despite the first two doing a great job with balancing your expectations with a dash of secrecy that hinted at more backdoor politics brewing beneath the surface.
WCKD ain’t wicked in this one, just relentless in their determination to make all of these kids suffer. At one point you forget about them trying to find a cure and just assume that they love torturing children for the fun of it.
The Death Cure has a late Resident Evil vibe to it that it just can’t shake. It starts with the warm and dirty cinematography and quickly transfers into the over-use of explosions and slow-motion action to try and tell a story. Gone is the plot and in is the focus on Thomas continuously avoiding bomb blasts.
The film’s conclusion is met with disappointment and satisfaction. I’m bummed that this is how it all ends, but I’m glad that I don’t have to watch another single minute of this hot garbage.
The Maze Runner is the kind of film that flips its expectations onto you in a way that felt refreshing and different. The Scorch Trials was proof that expanding the universe can be a good thing and that more characters, a bigger set and an entirely different direction can make a second installment feel just as fresh and different.
The Death Cure is a solid example of how to take all of those good qualities and throw them into a burning trash can. This series is definitely done, not because of its story, but because of its inability to keep moving forward or past the notion that pointless action and cheap mayhem makes for good storytelling.[divider]