Main cast: Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt), Lee Ki Hong (Minho), Kaya Scodelario (Teresa Agnes), Rosa Salazar (Brenda), Will Poulter (Gally), Jacob Lofland (Aris Jones), Dexter Darden (Frypan), Aidan Gillen (Janson), Giancarlo Esposito (Jorge), Barry Pepper (Vince), and Patricia Clarkson (Chancellor Ava Paige)
Director: Wes Ball
Finally, Maze Runner: The Death Cure brings to a close a trilogy that has strayed so far from James Dashner’s novels that it has since mutated into a hybrid of zombie survival horror and more conventional action movie. Even in this movie, the penultimate conclusion, it still has no idea what it is, and doesn’t care that it has no clue. If you like explosions and chases, this one may do the trick, but if you think a bit more about the movie, you may realize that you have just spent almost one hour and forty five minutes waist-deep in turd.
Oh, and this is the conclusion of a series, so invariably it and this review contain spoilers to events that took place in the last two movies.
Anyway, it has been a while since Thomas, Newt, and Frypan managed to escape the deadly maze that was run by the WCKD – or “Wicked” – Corporation. In this series, WCKD is a third-rate Umbrella Corporation which has Chancellor Ava Paige and her smirking right hand man Janson rounding up kids immune to the virus that causes people to become slavering zombie-like things, and heightening these kids’ terror in order to extract… stuff from their blood in an effort to create a serum that will cure the infection. Thomas and friends are some of these guinea pigs, and they managed to break out to freedom, only to have Teresa, Thomas’s love interest, betray them and get many people killed in addition to Minho getting taken in by the WCKD soldiers back to the labs. That was in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.
Now, Thomas, Newt, and Frypan are all that are left of the old gang, and they are determined to get Minho back, even if this means sneaking out on their own against the wishes of Vince, the new leader of the free folks that only want to get away to a place where WCKD can never find them. Of course, Brenda and Jorge will want to be part of the rescue mission. It’s pretty clear that Brenda has a bunny boiler crush on Thomas, but in a refreshing change for once, Thomas doesn’t seem to reciprocate her wide-eyed affections: he is still coming to terms with Teresa’s betrayal. Going into the HQ city of WCKD reunites them with Gally, who isn’t dead after all and is now apparently a changed, more mellow, and more capable older kid conveniently enough a part of the resistance against WCKD in that city. Oh, and of course, Teresa.
The good things first: Dylan O’Brien for once doesn’t resemble a walking dead here, and he actually shows a staggering number of emotions on his face throughout the entire movie. Okay, two or three expressions, but still, that is much better than the zombie blank stare he put on in the last two movies. Maybe a near-brush with death during filming can do wonders to one’s talent as well as appeal, as he also looks pretty good here instead of merely channeling the love child of Ray Liotta and Holly Hunter. Oh, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster is always adorable. I won’t lie – I die a bit inside when Newt dies, even though I know that it is coming.
Unfortunately, this movie is yet another dumb and lifeless flick. People do a lot of stupid things, and there is a predictable pattern of other people showing up at the last minute to rescue these people from their stupidity. Teresa gets the gold medal for being too stupid to be worth anything here, as she just makes fatally stupid mistakes, one after another and causing all kinds of nonsense that lead to the deaths of so many, but Thomas is no slouch either in being dumb dumb. I guess that makes those who see him as a leader and follow him unquestioningly even bigger dumb dumbs. It’s also bizarre how Janson is so trigger happy and willing to destroy Thomas and others who could have provided the cure for the virus, when he has his own personal reasons to want a cure to be found, but that’s just one of the many instances of nonsensical developments in this movie that sacrifice logic for more chases, explosions, and fights.
Will Poulter finally gets a big role that doesn’t see him being too much of a hateful jackass, and his character’s sarcasm is the closest the audience has to a placeholder that points out the stupidity of the plot, but alas, Gally isn’t that big a character to capitalize on this and make the movie more bearable.
At any rate, this movie delivers the chases and explosions, but detonates any shreds of intelligent life in the story in the process. I suppose I should be happy that this absurd and badly done trilogy has finally limped to a close. I wonder what could have been if the movies had stayed more faithfully to the books, but never mind. It’s over and I’m done.