Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) is the third and final movie in the Maze Runner trilogy. The trilogy is based on the young-adult novels by James Dashner and focuses on a group of teens attempting to survive in a disease-ridden future. The first film (2014) was praised for its inventive plot and cool concept, while the sequel, subtitled The Scorch Trials (2015) was regarded as slightly disappointing.
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The Film Review
This third movie gives us closure on the continuing plot of Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his group of Gladers as they close in on the people responsible for their prior imprisonment. It’s both a standard Hollywood finale and an interesting wrap up on a surprisingly solid young-adult trilogy. Although it has some flaws and sloppy execution, Maze Runner: The Death Cure is a decent final chapter for Thomas as his crew.
The Death Cure picks up shortly after the end of the previous movie, The Scorch Trials. Thomas and his friends have escaped the maze complex and regained some of their lost memories, traveled through the scorched deserts of their newfound world, and are searching for the cure to a disease that’s taken over the planet.
Like The Hunger Games and other young-adult adaptations before it, the final chapter of The Maze Runner sees our young protagonist and his friends taking on an aadowy organization. This journey takes them to a high tech and flashy city, where they battle with countless no-name government goons in body armor.
Like The Hunger Games and other young-adult adaptations before it, the final chapter of The Maze Runner sees our young protagonist and his friends taking on a shadowy organization. This journey takes them to a high tech and flashy city, where they battle with countless no-name government goons in body armor.
It’s all very predictable, cliché, and overplayed. However, the strength of the characters, the performances, and the throughline plot keep The Death Cure from failing.
Dylan O’Brien once again delivers a great performance as Thomas, the once baby-faced and amnesia-ridden teen who has risen to lead a rebellion of like-minded people. The rebellion fights against WICKD, a corporation guilty of experimenting on Thomas and his friends, and constantly bending ethics to their liking.
The rebellion consists of a slew of memorable characters, like fan-favorites Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), and more.
Despite the script being by-the-numbers, the chemistry between these young actors is palpable and strong. Like the cast in the Harry Potter franchise you can tell that these actors have truly bonded during their time together. This shows in the performances, which are consistently strong and empowering.
Unfortunately, The Death Cure is not without its flaws. Besides the flimsy script, the movie sags a bit in the middle and runs long towards the end, resulting in a bloated second half. It ends up feeling about 30 minutes too long, ultimately running for over 2 hours and 20 minutes.
As an adaptation of the book, The Death Cure does occasional justice to the source material, but fails to reach a solid conclusion. The ending in the books was also a bit disappointing, but the film adaptation’s wrap up is mediocre in additional ways.
For a film franchise that breathed surprisingly originality into the young-adult dystopian future genre, the conclusion feels like a few steps back. There are a few effective moments, but for the most part, everything feels retreaded. That doesn’t make it bad by default, but The Maze Runner is definitely at its best when it’s trying new things.
If you’re a fan of the first two films, you’ll likely want to see how things end. In that regard, The Maze Runner: The Death Cure delivers. It’s an unoffensive conclusion to a refreshing story, and although it ultimately drops the ball on the ending, it’s still plenty of fun along the way.
The concept, scenery, and narrative is almost laughably cookie cutter, but good characters and solid performances keep things from getting stale.
At it’s best, The Death Cure provides surprisingly heartfelt and emotional moments with beloved and memorable characters.
At it’s worst, it’s a repetitive popcorn movie with plenty of action and excitement. It could’ve been better, but it could’ve been a lot worse too.
- Provides a decent conclusion to a refreshing film trilogy
- Effective performances make characters memorable and likable
- Some action scenes are breathtakingly cool and inventive
- For the genre, the entire concept is overplayed
- The pacing feels awkward, as the second half feels too long
- Does a poor job adapting the source material in comparison to the rest of the trilogy