While the Maze Runner franchise has been far from original, each film has delivered a healthy dose of fun and been crafted quite impressively. Gratefully, Wes Ball’s Maze Runner: The Death Cure, the final instalment in the series, continues that trend and offers fans a deserving farewell. It does so in the fact that it’s entirely familiar and also predictable, how it zips, generates deep peril, and has innumerable captivating set pieces and seamlessly placed action beats that keep you thoroughly engaged. While the audience will most probably require at least some background knowledge of the series to get really caught up in proceedings, The Death Cure is sure to keep you hooked.
Given Dylan O’Brien‘s terrible accident, the franchise’s usual September release was delayed, but that’s meant it has delivered the Summer action that audiences will be searching for in the downtime that normally follows Christmas, and recent films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Into the Jungle.
The first and third acts of the film are unquestionably the strongest; the second failing to keep the rhythm of the fast paced action and at times felt out of place. Some scenes were simply not as warranted. The redeeming quality about the second act is that it really dives into the ethics of it all, and makes an important commentary on perverting nature. The audience begins to appreciate that the teenagers who have survived so far to get to this point are the evolution of the species. As Darwin wrote in his Origin of Species that when more members of a species are born than can survive, those that do survive pass on their characteristics to their offspring. The people who are trying to survive the plague virus wish to use the Maze Runners, especially Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), as a means to an end. Go through them to find a possible cure for the plague. The film takes the ethical standpoint to convey the message to the audience that perhaps you should give in to what nature wants to happen, rather than losing your humanity try and change it.
The acting within the film is on par with the other two instalments in the franchise, however, it appears that they had just begun to grapple the depth in what the dialogue and situation had on their respective characters. The director, Wes Ball, delivers a well thought out biblical allusion to the Judas through Teresa (Kaya Scodelario; a real stand out of the film) a former Maze Runner and friend to our protagonists.
The returning cinematographer Gyula Pados delivers another spectacular job at portraying the dystopian future, and bares a striking resemblance to that of Roger Deakins’ work on 2017’s Blade Runner 2049 even without the significant budget.
All in all, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, while both predictable and not overly original, has plenty of redeeming factors that will keep casual audiences and fans alike feeling invested in the story and satisfied with its outcome.
Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is in Australian Cinemas now.