“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is directed by Wes Ball and stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Will Poulter. The film is the third in the “Maze Runner” trilogy based on the books by James Dashner and is about Thomas and his group breaking into WCKD to stop the testing of people like them, as well as to save one of their most important members.
This franchise has been nothing but satisfactory from the get-go, so I didn’t have much of any expectations coming into this one. However, I do like Dylan O’Brien, and the end of “The Scorch Trials” left me with some promise, so as long as this franchise isn’t as horrendous as the “Divergent” trilogy, I can sleep okay at night.
This is easily the most action-packed and entertaining movie of the franchise thus far, and that has a lot to do with Wes Ball’s improved direction. From the frantic opening sequence to the relentless final act, I was on the edge of my seat for far more of the runtime than I had anticipated, and I thought the action was handled incredibly well, and it was shot with enough precision to keep me intrigued throughout, even in a franchise I care so little about.
Along with the action, I found a lot of the story elements to be much more successful than expected, especially with building emotion and characters. This film takes as many risks as the first in the franchise, except this time, they pay off by being more rational and better developed, and, while it isn’t the tightest plot ever told, it was crafted well enough to work.
Dylan O’Brien continues to show all the potential in the world with yet another great performance, as he leads this cast in dramatic chops, as well as with shining through the script. O’Brien’s character of Thomas is one that you can’t help but root for because of the leadership and the consistent heart that O’Brien gives the character.
There is a surprising amount of solid supporting performances, with Ki Hong Lee, Will Poulter, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster all are great in their roles alongside O’Brien. Kaya Scodelario brings an interesting element to the story that I, for the most part, enjoyed, but it was Aidan Gillen’s return as Janson that I loved the most. Known for being a total prick on “Game of Thrones,” Gillen continues to do what he does best, and gives a great performance as the main antagonist, though I wish he was utilized more.
While “The Death Cure” surprised me with its stronger sense of tension and emotion, it is still absurdly long. At 142 minutes, there are clear scenes that feel overly stretched out or unnecessary, and, even if just 15 or 20 minutes shorter, the film could have benefitted from cutting some fat off.
With these extra scenes comes plot points that feel glossed over, or unfinished, and often the plans that take place are not the most well thought out or creative, and it felt way too easy for Thomas and company to break in and do whatever they wanted. Also, there’s a handful of moments where a random plot device comes in to save the day out of nowhere, and they became a bit tedious and expected whenever it looked like there was no escape.
Rosa Salazar’s performance did not do it for me, as she felt overly involved in a romantic relationship that didn’t work, and her character suffered because of it. I don’t think her performance was terrible, but she definitely could not sell the level of emotion that was asked from her, and I found her to be a bit behind compared to the rest of the cast.
“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is the best in the franchise, but is still nothing all that exceptional to write home about. I appreciated the increased pacing and the adrenaline-filled action, even with the ridiculously long runtime, and I do think Dylan O’Brien is up for the task in leading these movies. However, even though I did enjoy this film more than I expected, it does have its flaws and could use some improvements in the screenplay.
What did you think of “Maze Runner: The Death Cure”? Comment below with your thoughts.