If you haven’t already seen the first two entries of the “Maze Runner” series, there’s not much reason to see this one. Due to so much plotting that has come before, that’s directly dealt with in part three, you won’t know what the heck is going on. If you have seen the first two, and liked what you saw (a lot of people did like them; combined box office returns were $650 million), you’ll be happy to know that with the same director and screenwriter again aboard, “The Death Cure” provides more of the same.
My thoughts? “The Maze Runner” was awful, a bargain basement borrowing of other, better teen dystopian stories (remember “The Hunger Games?”), littered with clichés and not very well paced. “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” continued the same formula but amped up the division of bad guys against good guys. Translated, that would be adults against teens. There were also lots more clichés that tended to make me forget about the tepid and confusing storyline.
So, I approached the new film with some trepidation, knowing only that it was longer than the previous two. Picking up the story six months after the end of “Scorch Trials,” this sticks with the tribulations of a bunch of teens whose memories have been erased, and who have survived the zombie plague that’s spread around the world because they have immunity locked up in their genes. It’s them against some sinister scientists who are searching for a cure to the plague, at any cost, including the lives of these survivors, whose blood may hold the clue.
To say this one is the best of the three isn’t really saying all that much. But there’s no lack of wild action (and accompanying loud music), and a couple of the vehicular stunts are worthy of the “Fast & Furious” franchise.
The teens, headed up by Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), who had his heart broken by the traitorous Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) earlier on — though she doesn’t consider herself a traitor — have gotten out of one predicament, landed in another, gotten into yet another and, I think (but I’m not sure, because I lost track) that there are a couple more desperate situations that are always fixed by ridiculous solutions.
Apparently, there’s only one city left on the planet, since the plague wreaked havoc everywhere else, and our heroes on the run make their way there to rescue one of their own, who was taken prisoner by sinister scientists for experimentation purposes. The character of head scientist Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) is never fully defined, but her right-hand man — feel free to call him her henchman — Mr. Janson (Aiden Gillen) is a full-blown villain. Everything is OK inside the walled city for the time being, but outside, the plague is spreading, turning victims into snarling, screaming, slobbering zombies — the kind that run rather than stagger around. And there are now signs of it inside the walls.
The script loads itself up with rambling conversations, bureaucratic hassles between scientists and board members, long wordless stretches of people walking and scampering, and more tight spots and resulting rescues. Things, as they must in a cliché-ridden movie, go wrong in the lab; big, impressive explosions are set off; tall buildings crumble to the ground; and the relatively small cast suffers a relatively high body count, yet our heroes, and even our villains, are always pretty well kempt, their hair clean and just about perfect.
The ending (Warning: It’s different from the ending in the books) symbolizes some hope for the future, but it just goes on too long, kind of like the running times of all of these movies.
Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Maze Runner: The Death Cure”
Written by T.S. Nowlin; directed by Wes Ball
With: Dylan O’Brien, Rosa Salazar, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Aidan Gillen