Like any trilogy, there’s an imperative that it ends in such a way that encapsulates what the entire series of films was building to, and while Maze Runner: The Death Cure certainly loses its way in areas, I can safely say it eventually finds its way to the center.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the third and final film to the Maze Runner film franchise – continuing the journey that Thomas, Teresa, and the other members of the maze trials face ahead; they band together to take on WCKD and find a cure once and for all.
Directed by Wes Ball, who has taken on all three in this trilogy, Maze Runner: The Death Cure takes with it all of director Wes Ball’s weaknesses, as well as his strengths. Perhaps these films most notable strength are in its characters, not the chemistry between them, or the complexity of their past, but the fact that each character is generally likable and rarely agitating, a rare feat for these types of teen-orientated films. As trilogies go, the third should at the very least solidify what it has been building up towards for so long, and it does in a way; but just not in the way I had hoped. The Death Cure fails to properly flesh out the answers to things I wanted answered and left me interested for more information regarding almost every aspect of the story.
In terms of performances, Dylan O’Brien returns after his injury and brings back his intensely focused character. At this rate all of the characters have set themselves in stone with not much variation or improvement from the previous films – Ki Hong Lee offers some improvements and Thomas Brodie-Sangster also has some well made scenes here and there, but all of which are borderline. Kaya Scodelario returns as Teresa and is the film’s most complex character, though not much can be said for her improvements on acting. With Aiden Gillen as the villain we are thrown back in with his fairly generic character, nothing too special.
Where this film ultimately shines is its visuals — from the city-scapes to the giant wastelands, all three of the Maze Runner films have succeeded in visually bringing the world to life through the use of CGI backdrops and real locations, and this film truly takes it to another level. Audiences are also met with some fantastic production design, from the costuming to makeup, these visual elements are leagues ahead of the first two films, and the increased budget really shows its colours. The pacing in this film had unbearably high and low moments at times, as it snapped quickly to a fast-paced action scene then to a drawn out conversation between two characters that stuck around far too long. This wasn’t a short film, the run-time however didn’t show its age as easily most films usually would, due to the fairly well designed tension.
The fundamental difference between this film and the first film is that the first film had an interesting concept on its side, whereas this simply has the shell of an interesting concept without any revelations. Ultimately I had wished they ended in a grander fashion and fleshed things out far more, but as teen flick trilogy goes, they’ve been fairly consistent films. The Death Cure had technical wizardry on its side, but in terms of overall enjoyability, it stands just below the first film in the franchise by quite a ways.
Doubling down on upgraded visuals and larger scale scenery – Maze Runner: The Death Cure falls short as far as ending a trilogy goes; struggling to offer up a truly satisfying conclusion to an arduous yet enjoyable trilogy yet still manages to cough up some respectable entertainment for the loyal and interested viewers.