Review: Maze Runner: The Death Cure

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Review: Maze Runner: The Death Cure

The Maze Runner trilogy has come to an end with the third and final installment: Maze Runner: The Death Cure. Following after the 2014 The Maze Runner and the 2015 sequel Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, and based on the YA novels by James Dashner, we once again follow Thomas and his groups of runners as they try to stop the evil corporation WCKD, seek out the cure for the Flare virus, and save their captured friends before it’s too late. What could have been another boring YA novel adaption ended up being a really solid movie with great character moments and some great action.

The story centers on Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden) as they are trying to rescue their friends who were captured at the end of the second film, after the betrayal from one of their closest allies, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). Against all odds they and a small handful of daring others lead a mission into the “Last City” to find their friends. They fight off Cranks (humans who have been zombified by the Flare virus) and work together with a rebellion army against the “Last City,” which leads to an all out war against WCKD to destroy the city, leaving Thomas and his crew right in the middle.

After spending three movies with these characters it was nice to see them grow and learn. Each character has their own personal demons they must overcome before the end of the flick and each gets their moment to shine: Thomas must face Teresa, Newt comes to terms with his illness, and they all need to deal with the film’s main antagonist, Janson, played devilishly by Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen. Never feeling forced or cheesy, the actors really do take care to make their characters come alive on screen for the fans of the novels.

They’re led by O’Brien, who is coming along as an actor: He is strong and believable as Thomas, coming in like a wrecking ball and never stopping throughout the entire movie. Thomas is pissed. And after being with him for two other movies and knowing his adventures, he has all rights to be. He will stop at nothing to save his friends, putting himself in harm’s way to do so. The Death Cure was supposed to be released last year in 2017, but due to on-set injury to O’Brien, the movie was pushed back to allow time for him to recover from his injuries. You would never know that the film was halted a year for production, you can’t which scenes were filmed when, because everything looks like it was filmed together. Unlike Justice League where you can tell which parts were the reshoots, here it works seamlessly.

One of the most important aspects of the film is the friendship between the characters. They have been though hell and back. They see each other as brothers and act as such. Some of the best scenes are when it’s just Thomas and Newt talking. There’s love and respect in these scenes between comrades in arms. Towards the end of the movie there is a gut-wrenching scene between Thomas and Newt that is amazing for the acting alone. You feel their pain as they converse. I’m staying vague for spoilers, but it’s a great scene between two friends and two great actors.

The final confrontation between Janson and Thomas is brutal. These are two characters that hate each other so much. The fight is nasty and full of cheap shots and great choreography. You can hardly tell when it’s the stunt doubles and when it’s the real actors. A lot of time was given to making this fight work and feel animalistic as two dudes just beat the crap out of each other. It’s a fight that is a long time coming. Since The Scorch Trails you have wanted Thomas to punch Janson, a lot. And this was worth the wait.

This movie is full of action. Like, no kidding. All action. From the very first scene this movie is a runaway train heading for the station with no brakes. The filmmakers have ramped up the stakes and action for our heroes as they’re on their mission. Director Wes Ball and Cinematographer Gyula Pados really craft some awesome shots and really have a flair for intense dark scenes. This much effort hasn’t been put into a YA novel adaption since The Hunger Games. This movie was downright better than it should have been.

Over all this was a solid movie from start to finish: I never feet bored or annoyed with the characters. My only negative is it is a little long. That doesn’t take away from your enjoyment of the story, but it does have the issue of having to wrap up a lot of character arcs in such a short time, so we get the “many endings” treatment. Not a bad thing, it just could have been cut shorter in sections. This is a great YA adaption and a great ending to a trilogy.