Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the third and final installment of the popular Maze Runner trilogy. The film is adapted from James Dashner’s hit YA dystopian series about Thomas, a boy who inexplicably wakes up in a maze filled with sci-fi monsters and clashing personalities and ends up uncovering a plot much greater than he imagined. This film centers around Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) rescuing his friend Minho, (Ki Hong Lee) from the all-powerful WCKD with the help of his friends and other freedom fighters.
This film is different than its predecessor in all of the right ways. The film is extremely fast paced and has edge-of-your-seat action sequences that director Wes Ball has perfected over the past three films. Maze Runner: The Death Cure opens with one of the most exciting scenes I’ve ever seen in a fantasy/sci-fi film. A scene that famously injured its star, Dylan O’Brien, unlike Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials which takes 25 minutes before any real “running”. The Death Cure spends a lot less time explaining and does more showing than both of the previous films, a facet of the film that I greatly appreciated. The film is extremely fast paced and has great action sequences
Dylan O’Brien, Patricia Clarkson who plays Ava Paige, Thomas Brodie-Sangster who plays Newt and Ki Hong Lee’s performances bring life to this film.
O’Brien really comes into his own in this film as he deals with guilt, complicated feelings of love, hatred, and fear. In addition, it’s clear he commits to every scene. Whether he’s shooting at soldiers with a gun or crying over his past, it is clear that he wanted to depict a complex and deep action hero, and he achieved his goal in every way.
Patricia Clarkson, who plays Ava Paige, provides viewers with a convincing and sympathetic villain. Clarkson’s weary performance gives us insight into the feelings that come along with constant disappointment in the face of adversity. Her depiction of self-doubt and failure push this film forward and personify WCKD and their pursuit of safety.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Ki Hong Lee’s tortured performance’s give this film its emotional backbone. Their sadness and pain is felt throughout the film. This film centers around Minho’s rescue and the torture both Newt and Minho experience that, ultimately, push Thomas to become the hero he needs to be.
However, by no means is The Death Cure free from criticism, which lies mostly in the form of two characters, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) and Janson (Aiden Gillen).
Kaya Scodelario provides an almost lifeless performance with little to no emotion. The film attempts to redeem her character in multiple ways. However, it made me end up disliking her even more. The depiction of her relationship with Thomas is dull, uninspired, and honestly makes it feel unnecessary.
Aiden Gillen’s character Janson is a terrible person and Gillen is great at playing terrible people. However, Gillen constantly struggles with his American accent to the point where it’s almost easier to imagine his character as an Irishman rather than an American. It makes scenes with his character almost unbearable and absolutely difficult to watch.
In conclusion, Maze Runner: The Death Cure isn’t a bad film – in fact, it’s much better than I expected, especially after a not-so-great second film. Its stylish filming and great action sequences make the film worth watching. However, it’s the emotionally driven characters that give this series a satisfying conclusion. For all of that and more, this film receives a 3.5 out 5.
Will Poulter’s return as Gally is extremely welcome. He provides an edge and hardness that none of the “good guys” really have and provide the film with some of its lighter moments. He certainly deserves more roles as an anti-hero type of character with redeemable qualities.
Teresa’s death also feels extremely hollow. Her redemption arc feels less significant especially considering the lives she’s ruined because of her betrayal. Even if she gives up her own life to save Thomas’, it almost felt like she didn’t want to give up her life. It just seemed to happen that way based on coincidence.