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Maze Runner: The Death Cure: A Solid Send-Off to a Trilogy That Punched Above its Weight

January 26, 2018

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Maze Runner: The Death Cure is a somewhat satisfying end to a very fun trilogy that hit above its weight. I say “somewhat satisfying” because it sticks the landing, but gets weighed down in too many subplots, weird pacing and not enough running. Director Wes Ball (FSU alum!) was given the rare job of being allowed to direct an entire trilogy and I think he has done a fine job telling a cohesive series of movies that have evolved and gotten bigger. The first movie was a fun YA adaptation that featured plenty of stakes, likable characters and a breakout performance from Dylan O’Brien.  The second film The Scorch Trials was a big step up that featured some epic (for the budget) running set-pieces that succeeded in making me tired.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure focuses on the final battle between the “Gladers” and WCKD (Wicked). Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and  Frypan (Dexter Darden) have continued their team up with resistance leader Vince (Barry Pepper!!!) and the very enjoyable Brenda (Rosa Salazar) and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) in order to rescue their close friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and get the heck out of the infected wasteland in search of greener and less gross pastures. However, things happen and the crew is forced to reengage with old (fr)enemies Teresa (Kaya Scodelario),  Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) and Janson (Aidan Gillen).

What is the reason for the final showdown?  The folks at WCKD are all about finding a cure for the deadly “flare virus” that has turned humanity into cranky zombies (AKA cranks). Their means of finding a cure is far from ethical as they don’t care about occasional torture, death and insane tests. The “Gladers” aren’t really keen on being tortured, but they need to break in to WCKD’s massive lab (after trying to escape for years) to rescue their friend who is being super tortured for a cure. Once all the chess pieces are back in play we are blessed with many explosions, some running and a disfigured Walton Goggins (AKA The Best) blowing more stuff up.

The best moments of the trilogy revolve around reactive action scenes that feature fast thinking and lots of cardio.

What I love most about this film is it’s loaded with actors and characters I like. There is a mini Game of Thrones reunion (Littlefinger, Jojen Reed, Missandei) and anytime Walton Goggins can ham-it-up onscreen it makes me happy.  I’m also happy that Dylan O’Brien was able to recover from the horrible accident that happened to him while shooting a stunt for this installment. He went through a lot and the accident forced the film to be delayed over a year and potentially never finished. However, after a very trying period of physical therapy he was able to come back and crush the finale.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure is a fine ending to an unlikely trilogy and I’m happy it was able to get a proper sendoff. It may not have the thrills and excitement of the first two movies but I still had a fun time watching people I like engaging in post-apocalyptic shenanigans. If you are fan of the first two, I’m certain you will dig this film and embrace that everyone came back and it was able to have a proper ending.

 

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